I was thrilled to be the judge of the publication contest (from Engine Books) that resulted in this book being published. LOST, ALMOST is Amy Knight'sI was thrilled to be the judge of the publication contest (from Engine Books) that resulted in this book being published. LOST, ALMOST is Amy Knight's debut -- a novel told from multiple vantage points, and from many different moments in time, about a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos and the lives his affects. It's like CAT'S CRADLE without the snark and self-regard and sexism. And it's a perfect book for a small press: quirky, smart, magnetic.
Here's what I wrote about it when I picked it: “LOST, ALMOST takes us into a magnetic world, one where characters orbit not just Los Alamos and the sciences, but also the appealingly hard-nosed physicist Adam Brooks. His son, his grandchildren, and his colleagues all live within his gravitational pull. These characters’ passion for their work becomes the reader’s, and Amy P. Knight paints her brilliant subjects with confidence, empathy, and a deep understanding of psychology. Knight has managed to build a small solar system in these pages, one I was bereft to leave. Hers is a bold, enthralling, and often hilarious new voice.”...more
I adore Marion Meade -- she's perfected the art of the wildly gossipy literary biography -- and when (ten pages in) I saw that this book had no five-sI adore Marion Meade -- she's perfected the art of the wildly gossipy literary biography -- and when (ten pages in) I saw that this book had no five-star ratings on Goodreads, I was determined to write the first one and give you all what for.
So I finished it, and... damned if it isn't a four-star book. And it's not Meade's fault, really. These people's lives just aren't all that fascinating. (And she doesn't seem to have a lot of first-hand accounts or letters to work with, especially regarding the last months of their lives. When the two main characters finally, you know, meet each other.)
Meade is witty and precise, as always, but I preferred Nat and Eileen as peripheral characters in Dorothy Parker's story (which, told by Meade, is a hell of a five-star book). ...more
1) Really? You're privy to what people smelled when they got off the train in 1892? Also, people seemed to dAmong my many, many issues with this book:
1) Really? You're privy to what people smelled when they got off the train in 1892? Also, people seemed to do a lot more sniffing of the air in 1892.
2) He's really, really into blue eyes. If someone has blue eyes, you will hear about it at least 18 times. They will be compared to water. Or water will be compared to the blue eyes.
3) The implication that Harriet Monroe started writing poetry because she couldn't find a husband. That was a nice moment.
4) The guy who reads the audio version makes this book ten times worse with his ominous voice. Which is fine for the Holmes parts but not as helpful in talking about architectural infighting. Fun game if you have the audiobook: Listen to the way the guy says the word "any." He says "en-ny," in the creepiest way imaginable. Which only highlights the fact that Larson uses the word in every sentence.