A slow-paced read that allows the story, set in alternate chapters in July 1979 and 2003, to unfold with the somnolence of the summer days it describeA slow-paced read that allows the story, set in alternate chapters in July 1979 and 2003, to unfold with the somnolence of the summer days it describes. It is Sadie's coming-of-age story at age 13 in 1979 as she moves from dolls and games and poolside afternoons to a developing figure that attracts boys for whom she begins to feel attractions of her own. Sadie is lively, precocious, and imaginative - the only child of an emotinal, glamorous, sometimes volatile mother and an emotionally distant father - and soon her imagination leads her to play a cruel prank on a neighborhood girl. When the girl disappears from a neighborhood barbeque one afternoon, Sadie wonders how much her prank may have led to the girl's disappearance.
In 2003, Sadie is the mother of two, recovering from the stillborn birth of her third child. The vibrant Sadie of childhood is replaced by a grieving woman sleepwalking through life, until a boy (now grown of course) from her old neighborhood returns to town and awakens memories and feelings of that Summer of '79. Sadie makes poor decisions in this novel, which might frustrate some readers, but it is both an offshoot of her grief (her decisions at times are those of a sleepwalker) and a necessary path to and measure of her growth in 2003, where as an adult woman she perhaps finally comes-of-age, accepting her individuality independent of the difficult and complex mother whose shadow still looms over her childhood.
The mystery of the missing girl is solved at the end, and certainly keeps the reader's interest throughout. There were some elements to the story that I'd have liked more closure on, and I found the boyhood crush who seduces the grown Sadie to be quite unlikable (sullen in 1979 and manipulative in 2003). Overall, though, I really enjoyed the indolent Summer feel of this novel and the slow unraveling of dark secrets. Interesting and evocatively written....more
Sometimes writers choose their words with so much care that they lose the passion - and that is how this book felt to me. The language is pretty... anSometimes writers choose their words with so much care that they lose the passion - and that is how this book felt to me. The language is pretty... and its full of gentle angst... but the characters felt as remote to me as the glaciers of the title.
This is a story of unrequited love. Where is the yearning? Where is the passion?
Give me Robert Desnos, give me Thomas Wyatt, give me the wide Sargasso Sea or mermaids singing each to each. Give me Cyrano gazing at the moon or Pip's passionate speech to Estella at the end of Great Expectations. But I guess don't give me vegetarian noodle shops, Portland, and thrift store dresses that he'll never get to see, because that just felt like slightly self-indulgent bathos.
I'm sorry little book, I wanted to feel you, I wanted to love you, because unrequited love, I've been there, that is something I really, really GET. But this just felt like going through the motions: look at me all heartbroken and no one understands... meh. It just didn't work for me. ...more
Joe Hill decks out old-school horror in modern urban fantasy duds and it really, really works. Highly recommended.
Complex, believably flawed characterJoe Hill decks out old-school horror in modern urban fantasy duds and it really, really works. Highly recommended.
Complex, believably flawed characters, genuinely original ideas that play beautifully into ingrained pop culture imagery, and once again, Joe Hill can WORK a PLOT to a nail-biting fever pitch of doom and then pull out just enough happy ending that his readers can sleep at night knowing there is still good in the world. ...more
This is classic Shirley Jackson, concerned with buried secrets, human shortcoming, and the evils of mob mentality. Mary Katherine ("Merricat") and herThis is classic Shirley Jackson, concerned with buried secrets, human shortcoming, and the evils of mob mentality. Mary Katherine ("Merricat") and her sister Constance live with invalid Uncle Julian in an isolated manor house where they are shunned and sometimes harassed by the locals. As with Jackson's most familiar work, "The Lottery," each page is pregnant with past evil and violence yet to come. The plot details of this book are not a huge surprise; instead, the slow reveal is (view spoiler)[just HOW bat-shit crazy narrator Merricat really is, which makes for an interesting and weirdly believable read. (hide spoiler)] Enjoy this one for the creepy atmosphere, the unusual characters, and when you want to quietly ponder the evils of the human heart in the way that only Shirley Jackson can.
Emma Donoghue must've talked to a few five-year-olds before she wrote this, because the narrative, told from point-of-view of five-year-old Jack, is fEmma Donoghue must've talked to a few five-year-olds before she wrote this, because the narrative, told from point-of-view of five-year-old Jack, is flawless. Of course, Jack is not exactly an ordinary five-year-old. He has spent his entire life living in an 11x11 shed, the titular Room and the only world he knows, where his mother has been held prisoner for the last seven years. The narrative is loosely structured in three parts: Jack's life (built around routines) in Room; his and his mother's escape from Room; and Jack's learning to live in the world. Donoghue did do some research on child development when writing this, and that shows. This book is believable and disturbing, but the difficulty of the subject matter is tempered and enriched with beauty, courage, freshness, and Jack's entirely unique take on the world. ...more
Here's the overt premise in a nutshell: Zoe and Jake survive an avalanche while skiing, only to find they are the only two people left in the resort aHere's the overt premise in a nutshell: Zoe and Jake survive an avalanche while skiing, only to find they are the only two people left in the resort and presumably the world. Here's what this book really is: a love story with a Twilight Zone aura and a twist that most readers will suss out by page 40. There's little development of characters, but more an ambiance and descriptive style that lends itself to Jake and Zoe remembering why they love each other. In addition, Zoe has a secret that she has been waiting for the right moment to share with Jake, and that element gives a strange logic to the events of the story. The details of the story are well-thought-out and internally consistent, but I would have enjoyed this more as a movie or TV show than a book. Still, worth reading for those who like romance with a dash or horror. ...more
Based on a real resort that operated from 1852-1855 and allowed Southern slave owners to vacation semi-openly with their enslaved mistresses, Wench teBased on a real resort that operated from 1852-1855 and allowed Southern slave owners to vacation semi-openly with their enslaved mistresses, Wench tells the story of four slave women who visit an Ohio hot springs for several summers in the 1850s. For these women who have crossed the river into free territory, the temptation to run is so much greater--but some of them are still tied to children they've left back home on their Southern plantations. Beautifully written, Wench deals unabashedly with difficult subjects, including the feelings some of these women held for the men who fathered their children, yet treated them as property. ...more
A wonderful minimalist rumination on memory and living in the moment, this is the story of a brilliant math professor whose memory ends with a 1973 auA wonderful minimalist rumination on memory and living in the moment, this is the story of a brilliant math professor whose memory ends with a 1973 automobile accident that leaves him with only 80 minutes of short term memory and the housekeeper who befriends him. ...more