"The Expatriates" revolves around the lives of three women who have moved from the United States to Hong Kong. Their lives have become intertwined due"The Expatriates" revolves around the lives of three women who have moved from the United States to Hong Kong. Their lives have become intertwined due to several traumatic events. In the end, these shattered women support each other as they share the bond of love for their children. The novel is about loss, grief, forgiveness, marriage, motherhood, and the challenges that women face. The exotic setting of Hong Kong, and a look into the life of an expat added extra interest to the story....more
Jojo Moyes is known for her engaging books that look at romantic relationships with insight and humor. This is a collection of nine contemporary storiJojo Moyes is known for her engaging books that look at romantic relationships with insight and humor. This is a collection of nine contemporary stories. After reading weeks of depressing political commentary in the newspapers lately, it was fun to escape to this light, entertaining book. It was just what I needed!...more
A shocking newspaper article brought the alcoholic writer, Eugene Matney, back 46 years to the summer of 1969. He and his older brother, Bill, were spA shocking newspaper article brought the alcoholic writer, Eugene Matney, back 46 years to the summer of 1969. He and his older brother, Bill, were spending an afternoon fishing in a stream when Eugene met his first love. The beautiful, manipulative teenager (who assumed the exotic name Ligeia) was sent to stay with religious relatives in the boonies of North Carolina. Her parents were trying to keep her safe since she had recently run away to a hippie commune. While Bill could see that she was trouble, Eugene fell for Ligeia's charms. He was introduced to alcohol, drugs, sex, and rock music. Now, secrets about that fateful summer and Ligeia are finally uncovered.
The two boys were living with their widowed mother and their domineering grandfather. Bill was the golden boy--intelligent, athletic, personable, talented, and destined to fulfill his grandfather's wish that he become a doctor. Eugene became a writer, but his love of alcohol derailed his career and his marriage. Eugene confronts Bill about events from 1969. The rivalry and strained relationship between the two brothers, and the influence of their tyrannical grandfather come to the surface. There is much moral ambiguity and shared responsibility for the tragedy that is revealed.
This is the fourth book by Ron Rash that I have read, and I enjoy how he includes Biblical or literary references in his works. Throughout this book, the main literary reference is Look Homeward, Angel, a book loved by Eugene's mother. The younger brother was named for the character Eugene Gant who wanted to leave his small North Carolina town and difficult family for life as a writer in a distant city.
I remember the summer of 1969--the great music, love beads, hearing about Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury--so Ligeia seemed very real. While this is not my favorite book by this author, The Risen kept my interest and was a good suspenseful read....more
4.5 stars. June's home went up in flames the night before her daughter's wedding. It only took minutes for her to lose everyone she loved--her daughte4.5 stars. June's home went up in flames the night before her daughter's wedding. It only took minutes for her to lose everyone she loved--her daughter, her daughter's fiance, June's boyfriend, and her ex-husband. How does a person go on after experiencing such a great loss? June took off in her car alone, and headed west from Connecticut to a Pacific coast town important to her daughter and her fiance.
The story is told from multiple points of view of ordinary people living in June's Connecticut town, and in a small community on the Pacific Ocean. The characters' back stories are slowly revealed. Many had regrets that they had not handled things better when their loved ones were alive. Although the story is emotionally heartbreaking, it also contains brighter moments of hope as people reach out to each other.
Bill Clegg has written about addiction and recovery in his memoirs so he knows what it's like to hit bottom, and somehow make connections and recover from the darkness. Clegg writes beautifully, and certainly deserves being longlisted for the Man Booker prize....more
Scott Stambach has written an incredibly moving story, laced with dark humor. Ivan Isaenko is a seventeen-year-old boy who has lived his whole life inScott Stambach has written an incredibly moving story, laced with dark humor. Ivan Isaenko is a seventeen-year-old boy who has lived his whole life in the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. About 60% of the nuclear fallout from the explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 landed in Belarus, and Ivan was born with significant physical disabilities. But he is mentally sharp, loves to read, has a wicked sense of humor, and a fascination with sexuality. Ivan had spent his whole life in the hospital and had no family to visit him. The warm, motherly nurse, Natalya, gives him some loving attention and supplies him with books and games.
Ivan's life changes when Polina, an orphaned teen with leukemia, enters the hospital. She's beautiful and sassy, and makes an emotional connection with Ivan. Their relationship is sweet and funny, and touches the heart. Ivan narrates the story about their interactions--two people in challenging circumstances who need love, and hope for a medical miracle.
Once Polina comes into the picture, the book is hard to put down. The author writes with compassion, humor, and lots of heart. While Ivan does not always act in a politically correct manner, the point is that Ivan is a victim who has been warehoused in a poorly run hospital and acts out in response to this neglect and lack of love. Highly recommended.
12/5/16Reread for book discussion group. 5/22/16 Lucy Barton is hospitalized for weeks from complications after surgery. She is feeling lonely when her 12/5/16Reread for book discussion group. 5/22/16 Lucy Barton is hospitalized for weeks from complications after surgery. She is feeling lonely when her estranged mother travels to her bedside. Although they mostly talk about the people in their family's hometown, there is a wealth of information about what is said and what they are unable to say. The family had lived in poverty, isolation, and without adequate heat in a very rural area. Lucy was a resilient person who had escaped from abuse, poverty, and the trauma of living with a father with PTSD. In spite of a difficult upbringing, there is still a strong mother-daughter bond. This is a beautifully written book about the complexity of relationships, imperfect love, and how the past influences Lucy's present life as a wife, mother, and writer....more
Elizabeth Berg is an expert at writing dialogue between women, and expressing how women draw strength and understanding from their close female friendElizabeth Berg is an expert at writing dialogue between women, and expressing how women draw strength and understanding from their close female friends. In "Talk Before Sleep" Ann Stanley is helping to care for her best friend, Ruth Thomas, in her losing fight with metastatic breast cancer. She is joined by three other friends of Ruth who each offer support in their own way.
Ann is a former nurse, a quiet woman who is devoted to her family. Ruth, an artist, is more unconventional and spontaneous. When Ruth is facing death in her early forties, Ann is dreading losing her best friend. Ann also realizes she will be losing that vibrant spark in her life, the person who helps Ann enjoy life more fully and exposes her to new experiences. Ruth also had her own emotional journey to travel with the support of her beloved friends.
The story is told with a lot of humor, especially in the flashbacks to happier days. It also shows the joys and sorrows in the women's roles as wives and mothers. The men in the book are not well developed characters, but are presented as stereotypical "types". But that is not too important since the spotlight is on the connection that female friendships provide....more