In every chapter of "Olive Kitteridge" there is a person I "know." Stroud goes to the depths of one's thoughts as she narrates stories of the individuIn every chapter of "Olive Kitteridge" there is a person I "know." Stroud goes to the depths of one's thoughts as she narrates stories of the individuals in a small town in Maine. Who has not felt the fear,anxiety, longing and anger of her characters? I loved the setting, the Maine coast and fishing village, places I am familiar with from my youth. Olive appears as the protagonist in some stories, and a periferal but influential presence in others. The author examines so many types of relationships: mother-son; spinster-lover; husband- wife; daughter-father; friend-friend and so forth with the conflicts that can arise in all their complexities. The book is one of the best and demands discussion. ...more
The history books tell the story of Frederick Douglass, but there is little mention of Sarah Grimke, a rebellious trail blazer from a prominent CharleThe history books tell the story of Frederick Douglass, but there is little mention of Sarah Grimke, a rebellious trail blazer from a prominent Charleston family, who became an outspoken abolitionist and proponent of women's rights. Sarah's desire to make something of herself other than a genteel Southern belle parallels the struggle of two female slaves who attend her household. Sue Monk Kidd's narrative flows as smoothly as the silken threads in the hands of Charlotte and Hetty, the slaves who create the Grimkes' wardrobe. The horrible punishments inflicted on disobedient servants and the men who plotted a slave revolt illustrate the evils of the "peculiar institution" called slavery. Kidd's research into historical data entwine with an imaginative story of how the two sides fight, the one group for freedom, the other to maintain the status quo and elegant life style of the Southern economy. This is a historical novel rich with bravery, tenderness, purpose, and ultimately, comfort. The Author's Notes at the end describe how she combined research and imagination to provide an eloquent account of two famous women confronting one of the most shameless aspects of U. S. history....more
This brilliant story has a surprising ending. The scenes of Sevilla and the dialogue are so vivid. By the way I read it in Spanish where the title isThis brilliant story has a surprising ending. The scenes of Sevilla and the dialogue are so vivid. By the way I read it in Spanish where the title is "La piel del tambor." I think this is his best of the so-called mysteries, although they are much more than that. His mastery of all aspects of the Spanish languages, from the 17th-century dialogue in the Capitan Alatriste series, to the Mexican street language and Spanish drug slang to the 19th-century Franglish in "Trafalgar" have earned him a place in the Real Academia de la Lengua. He is my favorite modern writer....more
From my vantage point in southern Pennsylvania, this account of the Amish community facing a scandal had verosimilitude. The novel helps those outsideFrom my vantage point in southern Pennsylvania, this account of the Amish community facing a scandal had verosimilitude. The novel helps those outside the community to understand the way of life, the faith, the motivation, and especially the power and importance of forgiveness. An enthralling story....more
Dr. Abraham Verghese has written a novel of extraordinary breadth and depth in Cutting for Stone, a play on the name of one of the main characters, DrDr. Abraham Verghese has written a novel of extraordinary breadth and depth in Cutting for Stone, a play on the name of one of the main characters, Dr. Thomas Stone, and the Hippocratic oath in which doctors say they “will not cut for stone,” a reference to the dangerous practice of ancient Greece in which gall stones were removed by unqualified and unscrupulous butchers who left their victims with fatal infections. A writer as well as a physician, Dr. Verghese believes in touching his patient, in observing and not simply relying on technology to define the malady. For him, medicine is a ministry. In Cutting for Stone he combines medical and spiritual insight with raw physical details of illness and surgery in a satisfying, 600-page narrative that transpires principally in Ethiopia and later in the United States.
A beautiful nun, the faithful assistant to Dr. Stone, gives birth to twins—that we know right from the beginning, and their father, a brilliant English surgeon practicing in Addis Adaba, abandons them for being responsible for her death. Thus begins an epic emotional journey for all the characters involved. Fate, medicine and love bind the participants in a lifelong tapestry in which everything matters, every act, however careless or spontaneous, every omission, has its consequences We do not hear of Stone again until the end of the story, which explains the beginning.
Verghese spares nothing in his descriptions of the opening of the body in order to heal the body, the almost holy, mystical experience of peering into the brilliant configuration that is the human form. Not for the squeamish are his depictions of the age-old practices that mutilate and demean women , diseases, fistulas, tuberculosis and complicated births.
The novel evolves in the midst of Ethiopia’s 1980’s political upheaval. It is a coming-of-age story as well, written with prose as precise and skillful as a surgeon’s scalpel and as delicate as a human hair. The novel examines loyalty, responsibility, love and betrayal and the overall drive for survival and purpose. This is a powerful story with flawless prose of the highest literary quality. ...more
Max Costa, a man from the poorest area of Buenos Aires, survives by his wits like Lazarillo de Tormes, falling in love with, in his eyes, a socially iMax Costa, a man from the poorest area of Buenos Aires, survives by his wits like Lazarillo de Tormes, falling in love with, in his eyes, a socially inaccessible woman, but with whom he lives passionate encounters in Buenos Aires, Nice and Sorrento, a woman who loves him all his life, and whom he never forgets. He exists always on the edge of the affluent world, taking advantage of it, robbing from it, using his charm, manners and good looks to conquer women and their possessions. The novel takes place in 1928, 1937 and 1967. It involves a challenging game of chess in Sorrento, and the acquisition of political documents of the Spanish Civil War in Nice. Lots of intrigue, passion and nostalgia as the author switches from one venue to another back and forth through the novel. This has been called Perez-Reverte's finest novel, and, having read them all, I agree....more