MostlyFiction.com is an online book review site. We love to read and to share our opinions and discoveries of literary gems and top-notch genre novels.
From 1998 until 2011, we posted approximately Â 2,800 reviews. Â Good books never go out of style, so please take time to peruse our website. On November Â 27, 2013, we resumed posting reviews again…
Today’s featured review: Â SOJOURN by Andrew KrivakÂ Â (e-book on sale)
“Alma Whittaker, born with the century, slid into our world on the fifth of January, 1800.”
Review by Betsey Van Horn Â (Dec 5, 2013)
From the opening pages, it is evident that Gilbert can write with lyricism, confidence, and substance. I was afraid that her mass popularity would lead to a dumbed down book with pandering social/political agendas or telegraphed notions. I am thrilled to conclude that this was not the case. Gilbert is a superb writer who allows her main characters to spring forth as organically as the natural world that they live in. This is a book of well-considered people of the times, who are emblematic of daring and discerning ideas, as well as an absorbing story that will keep the pages flying. The 18th and 19th century comes to life, and botany keeps the composite parts anchored to the earth. It is a both beautiful and intermittently appalling story of humanity and nature.
The book begins with British ex-pat Henry Whittaker, a boy of humble origins, who, by the time he is an adult in the 19th century, turns himself into a captain of industry in the botanical and pharmaceutical industry, particularly quinine. As a boy, he pilfered from the Royal Botanical Kew Gardens and sold to others, and showed his mettle as an entrepreneur. The director, Sir Joseph Banks, eventually apprehended him. Whittakerâ€™s penance was to be sent on faraway travels, in order to prove himself worthy and edify himself in the realm of plants. Read the rest of this post »
December 5, 2013
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, 2013 - authors with books coming out in 2013, Elizabeth Gilbert' Â· Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Family Matters, Nature, Reading Guide, Time Period Fiction, United States, US Mid-Atlantic
“May I touch the corpses?”
As with so much of what De Quincey said, the request suddenly seemed to be the most normal in the world. “If you think itâ€™s necessary.”
Review by Bonnie Brody Â (DEC 2, 2013)
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell is one of the best mystery books I’ve read this year. It is historically based, taking place in the nineteenth century. As some of you may know, Morrell is best-known for his book, First Blood, upon which the the Rambo movies are based. Murder as a Fine Art is very different from his first writings. It is literary fiction and page-turning at its best.
Set in the Victorian London, the story is about a serial killer and mass murderer who appears to be copying The Ratcliffe Murders which took place 43 years before the current murders. The current murders are indeed gruesome, the first one killing a storekeeper, his wife, a maid, and two children. The murderer uses a mallet and razor as his tools. Read the rest of this post »
December 3, 2013
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 2013 - authors with books coming out in 2013, Historical, Literary, Mulholland Â· Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Real Event Fiction, Real People Fiction, Time Period Fiction
“There is something I never told you, Laura, a thing about me that makes us more alike than you might imagine. While I have many regrets — in particular about the kind of mother I was to you, and the kind of mother I never managed to be — I have no greater regret than this: that I failed to tell you the darkest truth about me when you were present to hear it, that I failedÂ to show you, when you needed it, how alike we were. This my true confession. To confess is all that I can do for you.”
Review by Friederike Knabe Â (NOV 30, 2013)
Patrick Flanery’s debut novel is a very interesting example of an overarching story that incorporates another “novel” or “memoir,” a journal and more embedded inside it. Â Set in post-apartheid South Africa Absolution is a thought provoking book, and engaging; not necessarily, or least of all, in the sense one would initially expect. Much of the novel could be set in any other country that lived through two opposing government systems. While there are hints of the political realities of South Africa, such as the brief visit to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the central theme of the novel addresses deep moral questions of the human condition that are not time or place specific. Read the rest of this post »
“Oren Dessens leaned forward as he drove, perched on the wheel, cigarette in the corner of his mouth, open can of beer between his knees. Heâ€™d come apart before, a couple three times, maybe more, depending on how you counted. The way Katie figuredâ€”every fistfight and whore, every poker game and long drunkâ€”he was always coming apart, but Oren didnâ€™t think it was fair to count like his ex-wife did. Up to him, heâ€™d only count those times he was in real danger of not coming back. Like that morning on the carrier.”
Review by Jill I. ShtulmanÂ (NOV 27, 2013)
The world isnâ€™t kind to the characters in Jess Walterâ€™s collection of 13 short stories. Each of them is a loser, living in a â€śfrontier of stale and unfulfilled dreams:â€ť careless fathers, scam artists, ex-cons, gamblers, incestuous brothers, drug abusers.
These arenâ€™t people youâ€™d want as your neighbors or your friends. They are, however, people you want to spend some hours with â€“ and itâ€™s all because of Jess Walterâ€™s great skill as a words craftman and his incisive ability to create a wave of emotions with a few well-placed descriptions.
The short-shorts â€“ and there are a few in this collection â€“ didnâ€™t work for this reader half as well as some of the longer stories, which pack a wallop. A few of these stories are true stand-outs. Read the rest of this post »
“Thatâ€™s it. 1984 and 1Q84 are fundamentally the same in terms of how they work. If you donâ€™t believe in the world, and if there is no love in it, then everything is phony. No matter which world we are talking about, no matter what kind of world we are talking about, the line separating fact from hypothesis is practically invisible to the eye. It can only be seen with the inner eye, the eye of the mind.”
Review by Devon Shepherd Â (DEC 31, 2011)
Haruki Murakami doesnâ€™t lend himself to easy categorization. Though his prose is spare, almost styleless, itâ€™s more supple than muscular, and though his stories are often occupied with mundane domesticities, theyâ€™re also often founded in the surreal. Itâ€™s no surprise, then, that Murakamiâ€™s long-awaited latest, 1Q84, isnâ€™t easy to shelf â€“itâ€™s at home among either fantasy, thriller or hard-boiled noir â€“ but one thingâ€™s for sure: this book is grotesquely Murakami. That is, quiet domesticity punctuates adventures tenuously connected to reality, and yet for all its faults â€“ and some have argued there are many â€“ this is a book that haunts you long after youâ€™re done, a book that, like a jealous lover, wonâ€™t let you move on.
December 31, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: 2012 PB Release, Knopf, Literary, Speculative (Beyond Reality) Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Noir, Speculative (Beyond Reality), World Literature