Couldn't put this book down for the past week - it's quickly become one of my favorites. I often feel this way just after a McEwan book. He has such aCouldn't put this book down for the past week - it's quickly become one of my favorites. I often feel this way just after a McEwan book. He has such a deft hand and he's confident enough to let you see the puppet string and feed you another story, that you will buy wholeheartedly, as to why they're there. For a week, I pretended I was Serena Frome. Then, I typed up all the passages I particularly admired just to see what it felt like to be that confident a storyteller.
The only issue I have is whether I believe that artists were funded by secret government agencies. To detect communist leanings? Come up with Ian Fleming esque plots? That part I wasn’t quite sure about - what’s in it for the government? But I was sure I misunderstood something because very quickly I was swept along for the ride. ...more
Told over five weeks in the spring of 2008, Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House elegantly encompasses the dreams and struggles of an AfricaTold over five weeks in the spring of 2008, Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House elegantly encompasses the dreams and struggles of an African American family that has migrated from Arkansas to Detroit. The first and last of the thirteen children are the main narrators—Cha-Cha, in his sixties in 2008, and Lelah who’s just over forty. Cha-Cha has reencountered a haint from his childhood and is intent on discovering its meaning. The original ghost story gives delicious detail to a prologue where most of the children witness the first haunting, but as ghosts tend to do, the haint grows into psychological baggage that generations of Turner men have handed down to Cha-Cha.
Lelah is dealing with her own baggage. We join her during her eviction from an apartment and subsequent squatting in the abandoned family home. The matriarch, Viola, has recently moved in with Cha-Cha and his wife for health reasons. Lelah is a rare female in literature—a sympathetic character with whom we descend into the ravages of addiction. You know she’s better than this; you know she could be you. That’s how close Flournoy brings the reader to her characters.
All of this is taking place during the housing crisis in Detroit, the result of decades of discrimination combined with the economic crash of 2008. The Turner family—none of them exceptionally wealthy and all of them unused to agreeing on much smaller issues—are having to decide what to do with this beloved home that is now costing them much more than it’s worth. In that spring, black folks in Detroit are not really believing a young Illinois Senator can become President. They are not seeing how they can survive all the difficulties facing them, but they see hope.
If you’re still looking for the Great American Novel, you’ve found it....more
This is the first book I've read by Alice McDermott and definitely won't be the last. A writer's writer for sure. She's been on my list sincWonderful
This is the first book I've read by Alice McDermott and definitely won't be the last. A writer's writer for sure. She's been on my list since I saw an article recently that talked about how much she threw away to get to the beauty....more
If you always wanted to read Garcia Marquez, but found the heft of his masterpieces intimidating, this book will whet your appetite. That's not to sayIf you always wanted to read Garcia Marquez, but found the heft of his masterpieces intimidating, this book will whet your appetite. That's not to say that Melancholy Whores (one of his last works) is lightweight. It's still chock full of beautiful language, symbolism, humor, and wise but quirky characters. The cat included!
The narrator, a scholar and newspaper columnist, "discovers" himself via a year-long relationship with a disturbingly young sleeping beauty he procured from his local brothel as a ninetieth birthday present. It's not the creepy relationship you expect. Here's an example of his discovery:
"Thanks to [the young girl] I confronted my own inner self for the first time as my ninetieth year went by. I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature."
For me, this was a surprisingly comforting book. The narrator's continual awakening was like the author himself reaching from beyond the grave to tell the reader: Acknowledge this! You will be discovering yourself for the rest of your life. Open your mind and enjoy.
"We are already old [says a former lover]. What happens is you don't feel it on the inside, but from the outside, everybody can see it..... No matter what you do, this year or in the next hundred, you will be dead forever."
McCarthy's ear for dialog, in this case Sevier County dialog, moves the story along early in this book. Before there's much story to move in this creeMcCarthy's ear for dialog, in this case Sevier County dialog, moves the story along early in this book. Before there's much story to move in this creepy little book. By the middle, I found myself wanting for emotion. There was no one to feel close to - the way you get close to Billy in The Border Trilogy. Hard to feel too sympathetic with a serial killer/necrophiliac. Murders take place like you're reading about them in the newspaper. That deadpan ability can leave a powerful impact, but he got a lot better at it. Encouraging, to see him struggle a little, earlier in his career....more
The interaction between species is described here with such deep appreciation and understanding. A scholar and falconer, MacdonaldOut of grief, beauty
The interaction between species is described here with such deep appreciation and understanding. A scholar and falconer, Macdonald takes us on a journey through mourning her dad and simultaneously trying to understand a predecessor on a similar journey - the author T.H. White.
Just beautiful. I have a feeling I'll be returning to this in years to come....more
Of all her beautiful books (are there any I haven’t read?), I think this one might be my favorite. This was her To Kill a Mockingbird. Funny and intenOf all her beautiful books (are there any I haven’t read?), I think this one might be my favorite. This was her To Kill a Mockingbird. Funny and intense young boys on the rez trying to solve a crime that involves the lead character’s mother. His father, a judge. Some screwed up laws. All of the boys pretending to be characters from Star Trek The Next Generation. Louise, I love you. I read it on kindle and there were tons of things to save, but I may have to go back and reread it to remember them all....more