Clint McCown, the only two-time winner of the American Fiction Prize, returns with his eighth book, an atmospheric chronicle of the fictional, tornado...moreClint McCown, the only two-time winner of the American Fiction Prize, returns with his eighth book, an atmospheric chronicle of the fictional, tornado-ravaged town of Lincoln, Tennessee. “Haints” takes place on February 29th, 1952, the same date a tornado hit McCown’s hometown of Fayetteville. Each chapter focuses on the personal story of a different character, at times blending realism with supernatural elements (“haint” being a Southern colloquial term for “haunt”).
After a brief prologue, we get the trials of the one-legged ranch hand, Herb Gatlin, working for his former romantic rival Doc McKinney. While Herb is building a house for the latter’s pregnant daughter, Mary Jean, a tornado begins its malevolent descent on the town, scattering civilians and leaving destruction in its wake. In the aftermath, we get to know some of the other colorful residents of Lincoln, such the fanatical Reverend Tyree, who’s determined to save the townspeople from sinfulness; the narcissistic Doc McKinney; and his long-suffering wife, Ellen, whom he successfully wooed away from Herb.
There’s also Andy Yearwood, the incompetent yet well-intentioned newspaper intern who still pines for his high school crush; and his boss, the headline-seeking Tom Parsons, who, despite the tornado, is determined to go to through with a planned boxing exhibition, ultimately proving the resilience of the townspeople and their ability to rejoice in the face of catastrophe.
McCown’s strength within this novel is characterization, as even characters that appear briefly are memorable and fully realized. However, while some sections touch upon race relations and the restrictions placed on women, very little about the setting seems like it takes place in the 50s. Had the prologue not stated the year it took place, the era could easily have been perceived as modern times.
For fans of a good character study, “Haints” is well worth reading. Although it lacks a conclusion to its multiple plotlines, it does justice to the townspeople of Lincoln, their trials and triumphs, strengths and weaknesses, and leaves readers with the sense that their lives will go on after the book is closed.(less)
The Many Voices Project—held every year by New Rivers Press—has brought us “It Takes You Over,” Nick Healy’s debut short story collection. A St. Paul...moreThe Many Voices Project—held every year by New Rivers Press—has brought us “It Takes You Over,” Nick Healy’s debut short story collection. A St. Paul native, Healy makes use of environments and landmarks familiar to a Midwestern audience, while his precise descriptions capture the painfully familiar essence of Minnesota weather.
These ten stories fall under the category of local color fiction, otherwise known as regionalism: a genre that characterizes a particular region and its customs, dialects, history, and landscapes. Other Midwest regional writers include Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis.
Writing from the point of view of a diverse set of characters—all of varying degrees of likability—Healy not only captures the local color of Midwestern life, but also depicts universal struggles of flawed human beings. Moreover, Healy displays his versatility by writing from diverse points of view, including an elderly man, a suburban housewife, and a young uncle struggling to connect with his nephew after his brother’s death.
Some stories, such as “Squirt,” “Close Relations,” and “And Other Delights,” explore bittersweet—or sometimes just bitter—familial relationships. While many of them have some comedic elements, “And Other Delights” especially provides comic relief in the scenario of a widowed grandfather and his guileless grandson on a trip to the family lake cabin. Additionally, “Close Relations,” along with “Lives of Great Northerners,” involve women digging into their family histories and uncovering secrets along the way. At times Healy also incorporates historical figures and events, such as railroad tycoon James J. Hill and the Armistice Day blizzard of 1940.
With “It Takes You Over,” Nick Healy finds beauty in the ordinary, uncovers secrets beneath the façade of “Minnesota nice,” and delves into the strengths and weaknesses inherit in human nature. The Many Voices Project has chosen a strong new voice in fiction; one that will undoubtedly develop a loyal readership.(less)
In one of the latest publications from New Rivers Press, Sharon Suzuki-Martinez treats readers to some challenging, mind-bending poetry, starting off...moreIn one of the latest publications from New Rivers Press, Sharon Suzuki-Martinez treats readers to some challenging, mind-bending poetry, starting off with a quote from Heraclitus: “All is flux; nothing stays still.” Flux—referring to a state of continuous movement—correctly describes these vibrant, vivacious free verse poems, which rarely dwell on an idea for long before jumping to the next.
Although the book’s four parts don’t follow common themes, it may be noted that part one contains several poems that find beauty in the mundane, such as “Parking Lot Man” and “Postcard, 8 Miles from Carefree, Arizona;” part two is the most full quirk and childlike whimsy, with poems from the point of view of a swan, a horse, and a unicorn, among others; the poems of part three have more nature imagery than the rest; and part four is mostly comprised of poems that tell stories, particularly of growing up in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
At times, these poems offer a comedic touch, such as “Dragon Flight,” which, unexpectedly, involves a dragon flying on a plane and picking up his bags at the airport. Also often seen throughout the book is Suzuki-Martinez’s love of travel, as there are references to Hawaii, Minnesota, Indiana, and Arizona, to name a few places.
The book’s namesake appears as the sixth poem in the collection: a reflection of discovering “fresh wings” by making up “songs in the city / streets about desire” during “the flux of the day.” This poem may be interpreted as being about finding solace in artistic outlets during the nonstop motions of everyday life; something that Suzuki-Martinez has clearly done, resulting in this evocative and daringly unique assortment.
As a whole, this book effectively transports readers to a land ruled by the erratic fluctuations of the imagination. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy being challenged and taken to different places, The Way of All Flux satisfies on many levels.(less)
In an age of celebrity relatives writing tell-all books in order to make a quick buck, Amy, My Daughter is a breath of fresh air; a candid, caring tri...moreIn an age of celebrity relatives writing tell-all books in order to make a quick buck, Amy, My Daughter is a breath of fresh air; a candid, caring tribute to yet another rare talent gone too soon. Written by her father, Mitch Winehouse, this memoir’s proceeds all go towards the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which funds rehab facilities and music education programs for young people.
Mitch portrays the human being behind the tabloid headlines by opening with stories of Amy’s childhood; her beginnings as a vivacious young girl getting into mischief, attending the prestigious Sylvia Young Theater School, bombing her audition for the musical Annie, and eventually landing a music contract at 17, having sent in a demo tape decorated with hearts and stars. In getting to know Amy and the bond she had with her father, readers will likely get emotionally invested in Mitch’s struggles to save her, and his love, anger, and frustration as she heads down a self-destructive path.
Amy herself is characterized as a polarizing figure, constantly shifting from being endearing and affable to exasperating and egotistical. It’s a testament to her talent and charisma that record companies, management teams, and fellow musicians still wanted to work with her, despite her chronic lateness, erratic behavior, and various instances of onstage intoxication. Yet one of the flaws that contributed to her downfall was her generosity, which led her to spend frivolously on expensive gifts for friends and family, hand out money to needy strangers, and in one instance, rent out horses on a trip to St. Lucia so the underprivileged local children could ride them. Her giving nature also factored in to her obsessive, unrelenting devotion to her drug-addled husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who introduced her to cocaine and heroin and took a toll on her physical and mental health.
Mitch also reveals the stories behind many of her famous songs, most of which were autobiographical. She drew upon a wide gamut of personal experiences, such as her parent’s divorce in “What Is It About Men,” her first alcohol-related hospital stay that inspired “Rehab,” and her turbulent relationship with Blake, which inspired most of the songs on her second album, Back to Black. Mitch attributes Amy’s success as a musician to the emotion she channeled into her songs, and the way she could incorporate not only significant experiences but also mundane events into her catchy, memorable lyrics.
Amy, My Daughter is not a light read by any means, and it succeeds in conveying the tragedy of a young, feisty, talented girl with the world at her feet succumbing to her demons. For an intimate, heartbreaking account of being the parent of an addict, this one is highly recommended.(less)
Besides her young-adult modernizations of classic literature—such as Jane and the recently released Catherine—April Linder has also made a name for he...moreBesides her young-adult modernizations of classic literature—such as Jane and the recently released Catherine—April Linder has also made a name for herself in poetry. This particular poetry collection, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped, showcases her prowess in taking everyday life and, with a turn of phrase, provides haunting snapshots of the human condition.
Divided into three parts, the poems of This Bed Our Bodies Shaped—most of them free verse—take readers to the beach, to ancient cathedrals, and to seemingly mundane settings such as a backyard garden or a waiting room at a hospital. At times these poems are made up of physical descriptions, sometimes streams of consciousness; though whether she’s describing a fish tank in the waiting room with its “sapphire lappings” or the low tide at the beach that “unfurls / black and glistening, tipped with moon,” her vision is always observant, contemplative, engaging and eloquent, and can be savored for its lyricism as much as for its layers of meaning.
The themes Linder incorporates into her poems are universal as well as personal; experiences such as marriage, childbirth, puberty and other rites of passage that are familiar but also unique to the person involved. Some poems, such as “Presents for Girls,” imply that such milestones are planned out by societal notions of expected and acceptable behavior; for example, the presents meant to train young girls “To have a baby / not a baby doll, to have a husband / handsome as the Prince from Sleeping Beauty.” Seen in this light, these customs are part of “the lives we'd been rehearsing for,” a line which adds a sense of longing to this social commentary.
The combination of physical descriptions with symbols, motifs, and philosophical reflections provides a successful merging of the abstract and the tangible. Lindner is poetic without being too ornate; expressive and moving without being mawkish; and conveys meaning without being heavy-handed. Her style can be described as succinct, evocative, and insightful, and should appeal to fans of poets such as Billy Collins and Mary Oliver.
The final poem in the collection is “This Bed Our Bodies Shaped,” which brings the book full circle and ends on an intimate note, describing the loving familiarity of a marriage bed and the imprints left over the years. This collection begins and ends memorably, with vivid imagery that will remain in readers’ minds longer after they finish it. Whether you enjoy modernized classic lit or naturalistic poetry, April Lindner is an author worth reading.
Despite the fact that J.K. Rowling was the first author billionaire, her most recent undertaking shows she hasn’t forgotten her humble beginnings, suc...moreDespite the fact that J.K. Rowling was the first author billionaire, her most recent undertaking shows she hasn’t forgotten her humble beginnings, such as her time spent as a destitute single mother on welfare; hence this gritty, hard-hitting, tragicomic fable of the privileged versus the underprivileged, and the pitfalls of a self-serving society. Boasting a cast of 34 characters—very few of them likeable—The Casual Vacancy delves into the depravity behind the picturesque façade of a quaint little English village, from class wars to generational rifts to the stigma of the mentally ill.
The story opens with the sudden death of Barry Fairbrother, a bank manager and Parish Councilor; as well as a moral compass in the amoral town of Pagford, which appears chock full of corrupt politics and dysfunctional families. It doesn’t take long for Pagford citizens to vie for Barry’s vacant position at the city council; namely, Simon Price, a violent, abusive husband and father; Collin Walls, a high school deputy headmaster; and lawyer Miles Mollison, pampered by his pretentious parents, Howard and Shirley, yet seen as a right bore by his sullen wife, Samantha. Unbeknownst to these candidates, their disgruntled teenage children carry out vigilante justice by way of the Internet, posting smear campaigns on the parish council website to ruin their chances at obtaining the position.
Among those reeling from Barry’s death is 16-year-old Krystal Weedon, the disadvantaged daughter of a heroin addict and member of the rowing club that Barry coached. Along with rivalries over the city council seat, Barry’s death spurs debate over the Fields, the derelict council estate Krystal lives in; as well as funding for the Bellchapel Addiction Clinic, where her mother receives treatment. While Barry was gung-ho on helping the less fortunate, the remaining members of the Pagford council considers pawning off the Fields, and its underprivileged residents, on the neighboring city of Yarvil.
The central theme of the novel is social responsibility, and most of the adult characters fail in that department; while, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a few of them campaign for social justice while neglecting their own families. For example, there’s Kay Bawden, a social worker who attempts to help the Weedons while overlooking the needs of her own daughter, Gaia; there’s Collin’s wife, Tessa Wall, a school counselor who can’t seem to reconcile her husband with her delinquent son; and even the exalted Barry was guilty of letting his interest in the troubled Krystal take priority over his own daughters.
Though the pacing tends to drag towards the middle and at times seems weighed down by too many characters, ultimately The Casual Vacancy comes together in a satisfying, though not very uplifting, end. It’s not a light read by any means, and it’s not for the faint of heart; and—as a cautionary tale of social inequality—it shouldn’t be. Its power lies in being unsettling and provoking introspection, thereby challenging readers’ notions of class, privilege, and how we treat society’s most vulnerable people. In tackling these issues in her first book for adults, Rowling remains as powerful and as socially relevant a writer as ever; and despite its flaws, The Casual Vacancy succeeds.
Having completed a trilogy with Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, and Child of the Prophecy, Juliet Marillier generously added a fourth nove...moreHaving completed a trilogy with Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, and Child of the Prophecy, Juliet Marillier generously added a fourth novel to this captivating saga: Heir to Sevenwaters, which, living up to its predecessors, weaves elements of history, fantasy, and romance into a richly lyrical narrative, transporting readers to a land in ancient Ireland where supernatural beings live alongside ordinary mortals.
While the previous installments of the Sevenwaters series have taken place generations apart, Heir to Sevenwaters occurs only a couple years after the third; not long after the battle over the sacred islands of Ireland. As the sorceress Lady Oonagh has been defeated, this new narrative arc to the series introduces a new villain: Mac Dara, the tyrannical, charismatic leader of the Fair Folk, and whose presence bodes ominously in the land of Sevenwaters, despite the chieftains having served as guardians to the sacred forest for generations.
Clodagh, one of the six daughters of Sean of Sevenwaters, keeps busy running the household in the wake of her sister’s wedding, while her bedridden mother awaits the birth of what she hopes to be a male heir. Upon the arrival of Clodagh’s cousin Johnny and his band of warriors, she meets the boorish, enigmatic Cathal, who brings with him vague warnings of a betrayal among the chieftains surrounding Sevenwaters. Soon after the birth of a healthy boy, the family’s joy turns to anguish when the baby is kidnapped while in Clodagh’s care, with Cathal being implicated in the crime. Sensing supernatural forces at work, Clodagh sets out to rescue her brother from the Fair Folk, and is accompanied to the Otherworld by Cathal, whose mysterious origins and abilities come into play throughout the perilous journey.
The heroine, Clodagh, is slightly more ordinary than the previous heroines of the series. She’s not a healer or a seer, nor does she possess magical abilities; she’s a dutiful daughter with keen housewifery skills, thrust out of her element in the eerie, treacherous Otherworld, which tests her courage and endurance. Her strengths are her generosity and resourcefulness, and her great capacity to love later proves vital to combating the malicious Mac Dara, for the narcissistic Fair Folk do not possess that ability.
Though the series is based around Irish mythology, readers may at some point be reminded of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, or of Hades and Persephone, given that this odyssey goes beyond the mortal world and involves the rescue of a loved one from the sinister depths of a ghostly realm.
Next in the series is Seer of Sevenwaters, narrated by Clodagh’s sister Sibeal, and Flame of Sevenwaters, narrated by the next sister, Maeve; and if the previous novels are any indication of their quality, readers will surely finish this one and immediately dive into the next, for Marillier has yet to disappoint.
If one line of the novel were to sum up The Plague of Doves, it would be, “Nothing that happens here, nothing, is not connected by blood;” a quote whi...moreIf one line of the novel were to sum up The Plague of Doves, it would be, “Nothing that happens here, nothing, is not connected by blood;” a quote which refers to the characters’ unscrupulous family histories as the driving forces of their actions. Louise Edrich’s Pulitzer Prize nominee haunts readers with its lyrically written, intricately plotted, and at times darkly comic portrayal of the multigenerational families of Pluto, North Dakota, and its nearby Ojibwe reservation. Deviating from the traditional narrative structure, The Plague of Doves is comprised of a collection of stories. The first narrator is Evelina Harp—a bookish girl of mixed Ojibwe and white descent—who chronicles her family history, starting with the 1896 infestation of doves that destroyed the crops of Pluto’s ancestors; and the attempts of her great-uncle—one of the first Catholic priests of Native descent—to pray them away. Mingling with her narration is the voice of her grandfather Mooshum, a storyteller with encyclopedic knowledge of Pluto’s violent history: a town haunted by the unsolved 1911 murder of a white farm family, and the subsequent lynching of the Natives blamed the crime—a lynching that Mooshum somehow survived. Other narrators include Marn Wolde, who transitions from innocent country girl to wife of a dangerous cult leader; and Judge Antone Coutts, descendent of one of the original white settlers; with overlapping accounts of Mooshum’s musically gifted brother, Shamengwa; and the redeemable delinquent Corwin Peace. Their stories intersect, compliment, and contradict each other as descendants of both the victims and the lynching party—their legacies complicated by marriage—are brought together by proximity, coincidence, religious faith, and the universal language of music; particularly the violin, an instrument of almost supernatural power; possibly a vessel of divine intervention.
Comic relief is provided mostly by the colorful character of Mooshum, whose mischievous antics and witticisms make him a scene stealer, and the most memorable character. Not only is he a knowledgeable source of tribal history; he’s also a prankster, a ladies’ man, and an occasional embellisher of the adventures of his youth. Though there’s no shortage of memorable and well defined characters, Mooshum is the one that readers will likely remember long after they have put the book down.
Though the novel may seem tangential at times, there’s never any doubt that Louise Edrich knows what she’s doing. The Plague of Doves is an ambitious novel of great complexity and philosophical reflection on how our cultures and our histories shape our lives, hitting all the right chords in a naturalistic and impeccable entwining of history with contemporary social consciousness.
As the third installment in the Liv Bergen mystery series, “Widow’s Might” is a strong, well-plotted suspense story that captures the Midwest subcultu...moreAs the third installment in the Liv Bergen mystery series, “Widow’s Might” is a strong, well-plotted suspense story that captures the Midwest subculture of the Black Hills of South Dakota, the site of the gold rush that followed General Custer’s expedition of 1874.
“Widow’s Might” picks up where the previous book left off: amateur detective Liv Bergen, having solved the murder of her would-be sister-in-law, finds herself drawn into another mystery; this one more than decade in the making. Ernif Hanson, an elderly rancher of the Black Hills, has been bludgeoned to death, making him the latest casualty of a serial killer known as the Crooked Man — who soon follows up that murder with an attempt on the life of Ernif’s widow, Helma, an 80 year-old woman dying of cancer, living out her last days in the devoted care of Liv’s sister, Elizabeth.
In addition to her sister’s connection to the case, Liv gets involved with the FBI through her new role as a bloodhound handler, as well as her attraction to the dreamy FBI agent Streeter Pierce. Yet she also finds herself drawn to agent Jack Linwood, and her confused feelings for the two men factor into her struggle with the decision to accept the FBI’s offer of joining them as an official agent.
Many a Midwestern reader will likely easily relate to Liv: an industrious country girl from a large, close-knit mining family, raised within a strong religious community. Indeed, religious themes have presence throughout the novel and the series as a whole. “Widow’s Might” refers to a story in the Synoptic Gospels, and the previous two books are entitled “In the Belly of Jonah” and “Lot’s Return to Sodom.”
Speaking of the previous books, reading this one independently is not recommended. Though readers new to the series will be able to follow the basic plot, they’ll likely be left confused by many a subplot, and may lack opportunity to connect with the characters before the action is set in motion. Also, as this one doesn’t provide a conclusion to the love triangle, those eager to see who Liv ends up with will have to wait for the next book, “Noah’s Rainy Day,” releasing in 2013.
With a fun, relatable cast of characters, an intriguing villain and a lesson on South Dakota mining history to boot, “Widow’s Peak” is a worthwhile read for mystery fans. Depending on how wide Brannan’s readership gets, her novels could even be responsible for making the Black Hills a more popular tourist destination, provided that there are no serial killers on the loose.
The series that brought us House and Philosophy, Harry Potter and Philosophy, The Hunger Games and Philosophy, and other such books, now delves into t...moreThe series that brought us House and Philosophy, Harry Potter and Philosophy, The Hunger Games and Philosophy, and other such books, now delves into the moral, philosophical, and sociological implications of Stieg Larsson’s famed crime series, and its intriguing heroine. For fans of the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy should provide many an insight and thought-provoking concept that may challenge or reinforce notions of the characters and the social issues portrayed in the trilogy.
Part One—entitled “Lisbeth ‘The Idiot’ Salander”—explores the character of Lisbeth and her femininity, or lack thereof; particularly the concept of being “genderqueer,” a term in feminist and queer theory that refers to the absence of a clearly defined gender identity. There’s also commentary on the incompetent school system that failed to recognize her intellectual gifts, and those like her who fall through the cracks due to the marginalization of “at risk” children. Also calling into question the functions and responsibilities of educational systems are the theories of French philosopher Michel Foucault, who—like Stieg Larsson himself—views power as a double-edged sword with the capacity to build or destroy.
Part Two, “Mikael ‘Do Gooder’ Blomkvist,” tackles the role of crime journalism in society, and women’s inexplicable attraction to Blomkvist; the latter of which is examined through the lens of Immanuel Kant’s theories on sexual relationships. Both Part Two and Part Three—“Stieg Larsson, Mystery Man”—note the similarities between the author and the male protagonist, such as their social activism and exposure of injustices. While Blomkvist’s relations with women and his sexual promiscuity are addressed, Larsson’s feminist sensibilities are also called into question, such as the graphic depiction of sexual violence in his books and whether he had voyeuristic intentions beyond portraying the reality of violence against women.
In the interest of relating to readers on a contemporary level, Part Four: “Everyone Has Secrets,” features the controversial figure of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as well as the “hacker ethic:” Lisbeth’s rationalization of her hacking computers and invading peoples’ privacy, not just for the sake of exposing criminals and corrupt government officials, but also for the fun of it. The analysis of Lisbeth’s moral code continues with Part Five: “75,000 Volts of Vengeance Can’t Be Wrong, Can It?” addressing not only the ethics of revenge but also the psychological implications of readers identifying with Lisbeth and condoning her illegal activities.
Ancient Greek philosophers have a presence throughout the book; not only their philosophies but also the principles of ancient Greek theater, such as Plato’s perception that drama should teach moral lessons versus Aristotle’s view on drama providing catharsis—such as readers vicariously reveling in their revenge fantasies via Lisbeth’s vigilantism. On a lighter note, Part Three boasts a chapter entitled, “Why Journalists and Geniuses Love Coffee and Hate Themselves,” which details the history of coffee shops and the custom of writers and other artists seeking refuge there. Philosophers who—like Blomkvist and his fellow journalists—wrote their important works in coffee shops include Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir.
Readers will certainly find themselves taking note of the sources cited at the end of each essay, seeking further reading of the philosophers, feminists, politicians, and Greek dramatists whose writings contributed to this collection. More than anything, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy fulfills the purpose of the series itself in challenging our perceptions of governments, feminism, gender identity, and whether the ends justify the means. For any reader who can’t get enough of Lisbeth Salander, this book should alleviate at least some of the disappointment over the lack of a fourth novel.(less)
One need only to pick up of a copy of Home—the 10th novel of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison—to be reminded that length has no bearing on the substan...moreOne need only to pick up of a copy of Home—the 10th novel of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison—to be reminded that length has no bearing on the substance and significance of a literary work. At less than 200 pages, this beautifully rendered, symbol-laden novella tells a story of the value of both the journey and the destination.
Frank Money, having served in the Korean War as part of the first integrated US army, returns to a segregated America, a wounded, empty shell of his former self. Drifting on the streets after lost jobs, a failed relationship, and run-ins with the law, Frank finds a new sense of purpose when he receives word that his younger sister, Cee, is on her deathbed, held hostage as a medical specimen. Shaken out of his apathy, he becomes determined to rescue her and bring her back to the hometown he’s always hated: the dingy little country village of Lotus, Georgia. Throughout his voyage, Frank must navigate his way through segregated public transportation systems, rely on a few generous strangers, and confront repressed memories of the battlefield in order to claw his way to some semblance of redemption and sanity.
Though most of the novel features an omniscient narrator, a few short chapters are told in the first person, from Frank’s perspective, speaking to the person who’s dictating his story. Although one may consider Frank the protagonist, Morrison shifts her focus throughout the novel on several different characters, such as his sister, Cee—a naïve young woman sheltered by country life and her protective brother—their cruel grandmother, and Frank’s ex-girlfriend, capturing a snapshot in the lives of each character through hypnotic imagery and tangential narration; eerie symbols that sometimes appear to Frank during his lapses in sanity; and flashbacks into Frank and Cee’s childhood and their rebellious teenage years.
The usual hard-hitting themes that are aptly dealt with in many a Morrison novel are prevalent in Home: racism, poverty, abuse of power, and the resilience of the black community; a community which Frank and Cee rediscover and take comfort in during their recoveries from the physical and mental trauma they have endured. Morrison also details the hardship of PTSD during a time when it was not diagnosed or treated, and subtly unravels Frank’s damaged psyche in a literary voice that conveys layers of meaning through a crisp, concise turn of phrase.
Throughout her decades-long career, Morrison has remained just as relevant and powerful a writer as she ever was, and fans of her work should not be disappointed with Home. Though short, it’s certainly not a quick read, as it will likely haunt its readers long after they’ve finished it.