It's characteristic of humans to make assumptions about others, to draw conclusions about an event minus facts or experience. This trait can service aIt's characteristic of humans to make assumptions about others, to draw conclusions about an event minus facts or experience. This trait can service a debut author, create suspense for a reader and with little known specifics can peak the imaginations of all of us. It's the fodder of a good storyteller who capitalizes on her reader's curiosity.
Where do we generally get reliable information about another? It's really a process, if you think about it. First you see an incident and draw conclusions from the proximity of the parties, their positive or negative jestures. But the truth of the event isn't known until you have facts, motives, and outcomes.
Finally, suppose you are tired, hungry, irritable the day you observe the encounter. Suppose you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Or you have just gone through a breakup and have strong negative feelings about marriage? It's complicated, isn't it, and your response tells more truths about you than it does about the observed incident.
Pieces of the truth don't meld until the facts or omissions are known. There's an element of suspense until the reveal, and because we are limited and certainly not perfect, we are often surprised at how it ends.
Paula Hawkins' storytelling is sophisticated and nuanced for a first time author. Her plotting skips around in time, her characters are unreliable witnesses, and as readers, it is up to us to separate truth from fiction (pun?). Until the timing of violent events, motives of flawed characters, and confessions of unreliable witnesses occur, the suspense builds and the mystery is unsolved.
A train, taken often on the same schedule, is a perfect vehicle for using only one of our senses. Without the ability to hear or feel or smell or taste, we are dependent on sight. If we are psychologically impaired, our sight is as unreliable as seeing without corrective lenses. What Hawkins has mastered in this debut novel is constructing a story that allows the reader to settle on the corrective lenses to solve the mystery.
When joggers find the body of a young boy floating in the bay of Corpus Christi, Texas everyone wonders if this could be closure for Justin Campbell'sWhen joggers find the body of a young boy floating in the bay of Corpus Christi, Texas everyone wonders if this could be closure for Justin Campbell's parents after four excruciating years. Like multiple missing children whose faces appear on milk cartons, names and identifying information fill Amber Alerts, and flyers decorate telephone polls, Laura and Eric have gone down every path to find their beloved twelve year old son until feelings are muted toward the other and respite is found outside the marriage.
But unlike other stories that bleed the reader's hearts when children disappear, are abandoned or abused, Justin is miraculously found just miles from his home. This ending should be sublime with the stress of the unknown answered, family bonds mended, and souls repaired. Unfortunately, this is not the path the first time novelist chose.
Instead, Johnston uses the mystery genre to expose internal conflicts and dialogues of family members upon Justin's return. From this perspective, the mystery's reveal is slowed to a crawl and the reader's questions ungratified. Who is the shadowy man who kidnapped Justin? What happened between them during the four years of Justin's abduction? What does this tramatic event mean for Justin's future?
Instead, like an analytic analysis that leaves no feeling un-named, no association undiscovered, and no consequence unexamined, Bret takes the reader, with marvelous prose, to an intimate emotional place that satisfies but does not ignite.
I am a lucky winner of REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS: A NOVEL by Bret Anthony Johnston. Thank you Goodreads First Reads for providing me an ARC for review....more
THE BLUEST EYE, published in 1970, is the first novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven year oTHE BLUEST EYE, published in 1970, is the first novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven year old Pecola Breedlove, a black girl in America whose love for its blonde, blue-eyed children devalues all others.
Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that people will look at her, value her unique beauty and make her world different. It is the story of the nightmare of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
In the prefice, Morrison recounts an early memory of a friend who said she wanted to have blue eyes like Shirley Temple so she could be beautiful. Even as a young girl, Morrison knew there was something sad that her African-American friend could not see the beauty in her natural features.
The novel takes place in mid-America in 1941, just after the Great Depression. The narrator is mainly Claudia, but other voices with their viewpoints are chapter leads revealing truths about racism both outside and inside the African-American community. The language is razor sharp, the author offers favors to none, and accountability is assigned to all...especially readers.
Two of the most prominent themes in the novel are culture's idea of beauty and the notion that love is only as good as the lover. The tragedy for Pecola is that all of her relationships are with broken lovers. The destruction of her soul is the result.
Other Books by Toni Morrison:
Sula (1974) Song of Soloman (1977) Tar Baby (1981) Beloved (1987) Jazz (1992) Playing in the Dark (1992) Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power (1992) Editor The Nobel Lecture in Literature (1994) Birth of a Nation'hood (1996) The Dancing Mind (1996) Paradise (1997)
What am I looking at here? This is the question Teju Cole seems to be asking in OPEN CITY. The visible, seemingly banal information seen with our eyesWhat am I looking at here? This is the question Teju Cole seems to be asking in OPEN CITY. The visible, seemingly banal information seen with our eyes has a history and a social context which can be investigated and understood. And there are few places so rich with stimuli as New York City. Julius is a psychiatric fellow who spends his time away from the hospital walking the neighborhoods which are as diverse as any global city in the world. And yet there are divisions of race and economics that cannot readily be explained given the history of wars that have been fought to alleviate the injustice.
Cole's debut novel overflows with observations. On the site of the Twin Towers there was a history of Native Americans and Dutch people long before it's destruction. Cole seems to ask why we are not connected to our prehistory. The former inhabitants have been obliterated and forgotten and now buildings shadow the space.
Music plays a major role in Cole's consciousness. Told in the first person in diary style, Julius is a fan of Mahler who died in NYC one hundred years ago. His music of mourning characterizes the years after 9/11 for Julius. Cole seems to see this tragic event as the ending of an era and the beginning of another.
Julius is porous in the world with a sympathetic soul, but also with the ability to ignore criticism. There are limits to his love for humanity. His father is dead and he is estranged from his mother. His former girlfriend has moved and is emotionally involved with another. It is his acute awareness of self and the world that elevates this novel to another level.
In an interview Cole lists the early writings of James Joyce, the journals of Virginia Woolf, Sebald's East Anglia walk and Proust as influences for this novel. He has returned to Nigeria to write a book about his hometown.
Julia Leigh is an Australian author whose debut novel, THE HUNTER, is curiously about extinction. It chronicles the aim of technology to reproduce anJulia Leigh is an Australian author whose debut novel, THE HUNTER, is curiously about extinction. It chronicles the aim of technology to reproduce an animal in the wilds of Tasmania believed to be extinct. The short haired, dog-headed tylacine was the largest carnivorous marsupial of modern times and was commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger because of markings on its back. Although its numbers had greatly declined before the twentieth century, the tiger was last known to occupy the wooded plateau of Tasmania. The coat of arms of Tasmania used for tourist propaganda sports the likeness of the animal extinct due to bounties sanctioned by the government. The animal was charged with destroying sheep though no concrete evidence proves the theory.
A mercenary who is known as M is contracted by a multinational biotechnology firm to extract from a living specimen the blood, tissues, and essential organs for cloning. Defense is the motive illuded to, as the animal was thought to have the ability to paralyze prey before killing.
Much is left unsaid by Leigh about the animal, the project's aim, and about M. We know that the last tylacine died in captivity in 1938 due to neglect. The Australian zoo did not allow protection from the extreme temperatures of heat during the day and freezing nightly temperatures, and the animal died from exposure. However, sightings, contests, and rewards have been offered into this century though the animal has been classified as extinct since 1986.
Not much is said about M to reveal who he really is, although we observe an isolative man obsessed with his charge to find the last Tasmanian tiger. Willing to position himself where the animal was known to seek protection in caves and natural enclosures, M endures the extremes of the climate and terrain to fulfill his mission. Other than a professional motive, we wonder how he views the termination of the last specimen on earth by his hand.
M is staying with a family intimately effected by the goal of finding the tiger. The Armstrong's wait for their husband and father who has been missing for a season. The unknown has rendered the mother incapable of caring for her two children which will have tragic results. Words are not offered about how M feels about his surrogate family leaving the reader to write her own script.
This is a story that begins with an ending. The predatory animal is known to be dangerous and cunning with designs to obliterate any living thing in its way...so, is THE HUNTER the Tasmanian tiger or man? Highly Recommended! ...more
"The public has lost a sentimental treat through the sudden death of the man Hope, who was suspected oA paragraph in the London newspaper, Echo, read:
"The public has lost a sentimental treat through the sudden death of the man Hope, who was suspected of the murder of Mr. Enoch Drebber and of Mr. Joseph Stangerson."
But the treat is not lost...it is delectably presented, mysteriously unwrapped and curiously savoured in Arthur Conan Doyle's debut novel of the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his devotee, Dr. Watson.
This is the home of the beloved English crime series. Literally, it is 221b Baker Street, where the characters agree to share expenses, meals, and conversation. Within the first pages, they share much more, as Holmes is asked to consult with Scotland Yard detectives on a case of murder with few clues and no motive.
This treat provides the reader satisfaction, as backgrounds are presented, motives exposed, and Holmes' methods explained. After this first taste, you'll want more!
'Hey, Boo' are two of the most perfect words in literature because they salute the "other" we all are asked to fold into our awareness. This is a univ'Hey, Boo' are two of the most perfect words in literature because they salute the "other" we all are asked to fold into our awareness. This is a universal, a spiritual truth that humans have the capacity to experience in life, and Harper Lee tapped it in Scout's salutation to Arthur Radley in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. What are we to do with those unlike us?
Ms. Lee said she wanted to be the Jane Austen of Southern Alabama. Instead, with one novel, she has caused readers everywhere to enlarge their sense of right with each reading.
Few writers achieve what literature is capable of...changing reader's minds. Even when a belief has been taught at the dinner table, confirmed by institutions, and backed by laws, minds can be changed by Atticus Finch's demeanor in a Maycomb County courthouse. This is the potential power of an author's words held in the hands of millions of readers facing universal truths.
Ms. Lee wrote beautiful letters to friends, some essays, but she never published another book. She seems to have told her story in 1960 and believed she couldn't please herself with another narrative.
Re-reading this classic causes readers to evaluate how they have measured up to its truths, a kind of American scripture, I suppose you could call it. FAVORITE! HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!