Wow can this guy write. He creates a pageturner, building tension, with clear literary prose that transcends the crime genre. He remains one of my favWow can this guy write. He creates a pageturner, building tension, with clear literary prose that transcends the crime genre. He remains one of my favorite authors, no matter what name he is writing under. The Whites is a NYPD term for the ones that got away, the perp (or in this case, The Actor), who the officer was unable to bring in for some reason, lacking the proper evidence. The ones that haunt the officers, unable to nail the case shut. Price has won multiple awards, including an Edgar, for his work on The Wire, which remains one of the best series. As with Lush Life, he has created a band of brothers within the police force, each with a distinct personality. Need I say, highly recommended....more
Several years ago I read Every Man Dies Alone (also known as Alone in Berlin), a truly remarkable account of the life of Berliners under Nazi regime.Several years ago I read Every Man Dies Alone (also known as Alone in Berlin), a truly remarkable account of the life of Berliners under Nazi regime. Still one of my all time favorite books, it set a new bar for historical fiction in that it was a contemporary translation events as witnessed by the author. Hans Fallada, aka Rudolph Ditzen, was a famous German writer who refused to leave when the dangers of living in Germany became apparent because "of the bees and the trees" and his overwhelming love for his country. He remained there, filled with hatred of what the Nazis had done to his beloved homeland, sinking further and further under the influence of drugs and alcohol, spending much time in hospitals and prisons. His story is as compelling as his fiction. This book is a new translation of "diaries" written while he was incarcerated for mental disorders following an argument with his former wife in which he fired a revolver (which both of them testified wasn't aimed at her). Under scrutiny, given minimal materials to work with, he created this part diary part memoir part screed, writing so small, in code, and between the lines to escape detection. Reading this is remarkable. He gives full vent to his feelings, potentially putting himself and his family in extreme danger. Need I say, highly recommended....more
Anita Daimant continues creating examples of female bonding in historical situations. Her protagonist, Addie Baum, narrates her life to her 22 year olAnita Daimant continues creating examples of female bonding in historical situations. Her protagonist, Addie Baum, narrates her life to her 22 year old grand daughter, recollecting her girlhood in early 20th century Massachusetts. Born after her parents' traumatic travel from Russia, Addie is a citizen and thus an observer of immigration rather than an example. The book was easy reading, pleasant despite the travails of the age, but is far from original. Much of this is mined territory, understandable given previous numerous accounts of people who actually lived that life. Each story is different, but this one has elements we've experienced vicariously. While I liked the book, I was hoping for more that I hadn't seen before....more
As a Peter Carey fan, I find I have learned much about Australia through his books. Although he currently lives in New York, he retains his national rAs a Peter Carey fan, I find I have learned much about Australia through his books. Although he currently lives in New York, he retains his national roots, and most of his material concerns that country's history. This one in particular found me referring numerous times to the internet in order to orient myself in the events that provide the characters' backstories as well as geographic distances. There are instances of Carey's beautiful writing style and idiosyncratic use of metaphor, but I admit to finding it somewhat of a haul....more
There have been several fine books written about the current wars, each with its own focus. Inspired by a Washington Post Pulitzer winning articles byThere have been several fine books written about the current wars, each with its own focus. Inspired by a Washington Post Pulitzer winning articles by Dana Priest and Anne Hull, Emily Tedrowe has crafted a beautifully realized novel concerning the Walter Reed scandal of 2007. The central two characters are two women experiencing the trauma of having the men in their lives facing trauma followed by outpatient treatment at Walter Reed. Jumping off the page with authenticity, these two characters represent thousands of women finding themselves out of their depth. This is war collateral at its most basic. The outpatient system at the Hospital at that time consisted of more than four times the inpatient population, and their families were housed in deplorable conditions, and the care they received could at best be called inconsistent. Tedrowe puts a very tight focus on this story, bringing to the forefront a story familiar from the headlines, rendering it accessible and humane....more
For the most part, the women in this collection of eleven stories are not single, none are carefree, and certainly not mellow. Unlike short stories thFor the most part, the women in this collection of eleven stories are not single, none are carefree, and certainly not mellow. Unlike short stories that begin and end at a pivotal point in a person's life, these sharp observations are microscopic novels, with three of them featuring Maya and relationship with Rhodes in its progressions, forming almost a novella. Heiny manages to mine the depths of contemporary female life in new and startling ways, never cliched even when the situations are. Each woman has an inner life full of complexity, and while some are more sympathetic than others, they ring true. Not one of these women feels or behaves like a victim. In many cases, each is the "other woman" in an offstage marriage, and each is honest with her reasons. There is a great deal of humor. In Cranberry Relish, for example, "Josie and Billy met on Facebook but Paisley and Billy met on Twitter because times are changing and if you don't believe that, you haven't noticed how many people eat kale now."...more
Really, this should be 3 stars, but I am rounding up thanks to the secret inherent in all books of this type that is cleverly manipulated in such a waReally, this should be 3 stars, but I am rounding up thanks to the secret inherent in all books of this type that is cleverly manipulated in such a way that it would be hard to discover why Emily felt she had to leave her perfect family and hide herself behind a false identity. The reason for the lower overall estimation is that again, in books of this type, there is an unrealistic easy slide into a new life with newly found friends and an almost laughable professional success too early achieved. That information is provided in the cover notes, so I am not planting spoilers here. It kept me reading, kept the pages turning through to the end, and was a nice sorbet between heavier, more satisfying courses....more
According to a recent posting, books fall into two categories: (1) you MUST read this immediately; and (2) don't judge me for reading this. This bookAccording to a recent posting, books fall into two categories: (1) you MUST read this immediately; and (2) don't judge me for reading this. This book definitely falls into the first category, but the title may make it a hard sell. I noticed when reading it in public, it received odd stares, but don't judge this book by its cover. It's remarkable. An award winner from Brazil, via a clear and accessible translation, it tells of an unnamed protagonist, unable to remember faces of those he has met. Seeking the truth about his grandfather's death, he takes up residence in a coastal resort town that is transitioning from traditional fishing village to surfers' destination. He has moved there with his father's dog Beta, and that relationship is one of the great love stories of our time. I was somewhat reminded of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, in which another protagonist with a neurological condition had an almost mystical relationship with his dog. Much happens in this book, and one quibble I may have is the positioning of a brief introduction. Future readers will have to determine if they agree....more
I had a problem getting involved with both the story and its style. When a junior partner of a lawfirm who is desperately trying to get pregnant fleesI had a problem getting involved with both the story and its style. When a junior partner of a lawfirm who is desperately trying to get pregnant flees with her chef husband to a Pacific atoll, well, it does go on from there, but glacially. Other characters never seem to gel or gain any more credulity than the central couple, and I must admit, I felt my time would be better served otherwise. I am sorry I didn't like it more....more
Scanning through the reviews, curious at the low ratings, I discover that many of the lowest reviews are based on other translations, that the EnglishScanning through the reviews, curious at the low ratings, I discover that many of the lowest reviews are based on other translations, that the English translation has garnered higher praise. I was mesmerized by this book as I was by Suspended Sentences, the only other Modiano novel I have read. This spare book contains more atmospheric menace and existential question than many novels twice its length. The reader has to pay attention because of the shifts of place and time run throughout, but Jean, the narrator, is remembering his past and fleshing out his feelings for a couple he'd met 20 or more years ago, during WWII, and there was one segment that recalled for me the novels of Irene Nemerovsky, both dealing with ordinary people in occupied Paris. ...more
This was a very difficult book to read at this time -- the "anniversary" of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the atrocity in Pakistan. School massacres have beThis was a very difficult book to read at this time -- the "anniversary" of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the atrocity in Pakistan. School massacres have become alarmingly present. I can remember a time when the thought of killing children was anathema. Now this is fodder, and just the act of sending a child to school is committing a hostage to fortune. This story unfolds from the point of view of one of the overlooked victims of such an event -- a parent of a suspected perpetrator. I am reminded of the section in Far From the Tree in which Solomon interviewed the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine killers.
Simon, a stay at home Dad, remembers his son's life in alternating chapters with those of the massacre and its aftermath, a time in which his son is missing. This is a debut novel by a writer who has published several other books and shows promise with its structure, but suffered from a too lengthy denouement and sketchy characterization. The central characters do not have a three dimensional quality, but the suspenseful plot kept me going....more
Timing is everything. This is the second book in as many weeks I've read that deals with the negative impact of gambling (is there any positive impactTiming is everything. This is the second book in as many weeks I've read that deals with the negative impact of gambling (is there any positive impact?). I picked this up because it was one of the NYT Notable Books.
For someone who is not attracted at all to this subject, I fail to understand its allure and find such books disturbing. A gambling addict does not perceive any gains as a means in an of itself -- it's the chase, not the capture, that compels. A form of self flagellation. The reader has to disassociate himself from what would be his reaction to a huge win or loss at (in this case) the Baccarat tables. Visit any casino or watch any Bond film, and views of the Baccarat arena, hushed and opulent amidst the clamor of the rest of the room, is mysterious and intriguing. Our anti-hero, going by the name Lord Doyle, actually an embezzling lawyer on the run in Macau, narrates his story with unflinching honesty and scrupulous detail. The descriptions are lush, and the decadent setting save one elegiac interlude, are what kept me reading after I longed to put the book down out of frustration for its content. ...more