Glad I got out of the library. It's a pretty little book, but $14? I think of all the wonderful literature out there one can buy for the same price. L...moreGlad I got out of the library. It's a pretty little book, but $14? I think of all the wonderful literature out there one can buy for the same price. Look this up on the internet and read in ten minutes. A nice sentiment to preach to graduates to be kind, but nothing remarkable in the language or insights or advice.(less)
Full disclosure that the author is my cousin, so a biased but proud ranking. A personal look by the adoptive father of two special needs children into...moreFull disclosure that the author is my cousin, so a biased but proud ranking. A personal look by the adoptive father of two special needs children into learning how to cope. Structured as vignettes followed by questions and prompts, this book will help not only parents with special needs children, but parents who are single or overwhelmed in their daily roles. Joshi has a gift for rising above, and his background in ministry allows him to offer something of more depth than the usual platitudes.(less)
Not just another book retelling the horrors of slavery. Perkins-Valdez brings to life a little-known piece of history, and I'm so glad she did. If she...moreNot just another book retelling the horrors of slavery. Perkins-Valdez brings to life a little-known piece of history, and I'm so glad she did. If she hadn't, the fact that white slave owners not only kept black women as sex slaves, but elevated them in a way that sometimes surpassed the roles of their own white wives, and traveled with them on vacation to a place near Xenia, Ohio, would have disappeared into our tragic American history. The author worked hard to show the complexity of the relationships. No easy answers in this book, as the lead character, Lizzie, wonders if she loves her master, the same master who chains her to a porch then kisses her and calls her his darling, one of the most chilling scenes in the book for me. It's all there, the sick, power-driven intentions of the white male during southern slavery, in that simple scene. And the dignity of the women, both black and white, who bear their burden in different ways gets center stage in this gritty but thought-provoking novel. (less)
This is the highest compliment I can pay to a book: I miss it. I finished it a a week ago but didn't have time to review till now. If Morgan had writt...moreThis is the highest compliment I can pay to a book: I miss it. I finished it a a week ago but didn't have time to review till now. If Morgan had written a book thousands of pages long, I would read every one.
This book exemplifies "quiet," that term all lit writers hate to hear when they submit to agents and editors, as it almost always comes with a rejection. I've never read a quieter novel than this one. Really only three characters. One setting. Nothing much happens. It's all the internal wrestling of the orphaned Aloma, the main character, and her intense observations of the farmland and the living. Morgan can stretch a moment or a simple gesture to fill several pages.
Outside of a handful of times when I felt she may have overedited and used the thesaurus too much, I devoured every carefully worked phrase, sentence, scene. I've never enjoyed a writer's prose as much as I enjoyed Morgan's. That this is a first novel is extraordinary. That it was written in 14 days, one of those mystical happenings only explained by some spiritual muse. I don't envy her having to follow this with a second book.
I plan to keep this and read it again and again. It's not easy to follow a character who "can't trust the world to make her happy for more than a minute at time, and generally less than that." It's not easy to be in the mind of a character who wonders if it's her partner who makes her unhappy, or herself, someone who isn't entirely likeable. But the language and the power of Morgan's deep insights into human behavior made it worth this reader's while. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy poetic prose, social psychology, and rural settings.(less)
I admit this book caught my eye on a library shelf because of the cover. I love butterflies, nature, so I picked it up and started reading the jacket...moreI admit this book caught my eye on a library shelf because of the cover. I love butterflies, nature, so I picked it up and started reading the jacket copy and only read "Solitary, nostalgic Liz Crane returns to her family's now-deserted farmhouse . . . to study the migratory habits of the Monarch butterfly" and I was "caught."
I have heard about this writer, but never read her, and am so glad I found this book. It's not perfect--the plot seems forced in some places, the big secret that is revealed I knew was coming, and a side plot that veers into the Afghan war was unnecessary in my view and broke the spell of the location. My interest in her studies of the Monarch became basic recitations of facts any one of us can get off the Internet.
HOWEVER, this is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. I savored every word and sentence, and the narrator's recounting of her life on the edge of Lake Erie is so believable I was astounded to discover it was fiction. It has to be a closeted memoir, I kept saying to myself. The characters, facts, family stories seemed so real.
Finally, the novel brims with the beauty of nature and place. The Canadian side of Lake Erie is as much a character as the two Irish generations she explores, and her sidetracks into the great-great family members are so unique they take on a mythic quality.
Not surprised to find out she is also a poet. While not perfect, I will for sure search out her other books. Highly recommend if you love lyric prose, nature, place, symbolism, memoir-type books, and immigrant stories. Warning: this is a tell, not show book. You have to be content to listen savor the narration.(less)
Marketed as a novella, this thick little book read more like a short novel. Fans of Peter Rock's My Abandonment will love this novel that is less abou...moreMarketed as a novella, this thick little book read more like a short novel. Fans of Peter Rock's My Abandonment will love this novel that is less about time spent retreating from life in an abandoned ghost town and more about how we reenter the world of others. I loved Pieroni's poetic prose and her laser intuition into the human heart. Carefully crafted, I especially loved the passages set in Danceland.(less)