Antonya Nelson is known for her razor-sharp depictions of contemporary family life in all of its sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious complexity. Her latest novel has roots in her own youth in Wichita, in the neighborhood stalked by the serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, and Kill). A story of wayward love and lost memory, of public and private lives twisting out of c...more
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One pleasure of reading Antonya Nelson is that she brings the careful language and control of literary fiction to uncontrolled, rough-and-tumble lives. Mixing the admittedly bourgeois undertaking of meticulously crafted prose with working class grit is risky — it can devolve into condescension or cartoonishness — but Nelson, like Raymond Carver, strikes a remarkable balance.
In "Bound," she turns her talents to a character study of t...more
"Snowflakes had begun falling outside in festive complicity, covering the ugly, muting the unpleasant" (51).
"That would have been right up her very vengeful, extravagant ally" (88).
"Genetically, she'd be inclined to addiction; socially, toward unenlightened attitudes. Her mother's sympathy w...more
You will not be interested in this book if you are looking for a plot-driven novel. This is a character-driven novel and the plot is almost secondary, really. I personally really like character-drive novels if the writing is done well and I would be hard pressed to say that Antonya Nelson does not do the writing well in this novel. I could see where her writing mig...more
One reviewer said this book...more
It is primarily a character-driven novel and it is a good thing that Nelson is a good writer. Her characters in this original family drama are fully developed and she clearly understands human nature. One brief paragraph abo...more
This is the story of two Catherines, one named for the other. When Misty Mueller, estranged college buddy of the elder Catherine and mother of Cattie – the younger Catherine – ,dies in a car accident, the elder Catherine discovers that a sixteen-year-old promise has come home to roost. The orphaned Cattie has been left in her care. While Catherine decides whether she will keep her promise, Cattie, who’s been attending a private school in Vermont, disappears. Catherine leaves her home in Wichita...more
The story speaks of a May-December married couple where the husband is cheating with an even younger woman. This is going on at the same time as the wife learns that an old friend of hers (who she hasn't seen in 20 years) has died and asked her to raise her 15 year old daughter.
The fifteen books from the NYT 100 notable books of 2010 list that I picked to add to my reading list:
Bound -- Antonya Nelson
Mr. Peanut -- Adam Ross
The Spot -- David Means
The Privileges -- Jonathan Dee
Fun With Problems -- Robert Stone
The Ask -- Sam Lipsyte
The Tenth Parallel -- Eliza Griswold
The Promise -- Jonathan Alter
Empire Of The Summer Moon -- S. C. Gwynne
Secret Historian -- Justin Spring
The Mind's Eye -- Oliver Sacks
Finishing The Hat -- Stephen Sondheim
The Honor Code -- Kwame Anthony Appiah...more
I was iffy about this one because to be honest its not my type of book, and I had heard nothing about the author but I was pleasantly surprised.
The story is very real and very developed, the ending fitted quite nice with what life is all about. Perhaps my only complains stems that I would have wished to see more from some of the stories she develops throughout the novel, but at the same...more
Opening scene/passage: like others have said in their reviews, quite good. I wish so much intense and heartrending focus hadn't been put on that dog in the opening though because after those very connected moments the dog passes out of the book with barely another mention. Quite frustrating as that dog...more
The ending was a HUGE letdown, too. The story just fizzled out. I really enjoyed the book, too, but felt as though I missed something or wasn't paying attention, because I was left with so much unresolved.
However, the narration by Cass...more