Archive for October, 2009
Philip K. Dick fans will recognize his unique flavor in THE OWL IN DAYLIGHT, written by his widow, Tessa Dick, but not his writing style. Philip Dick’s novel, VALIS, set forth his imaginings of a hidden reality in which Rome never fell, but continued in a subliminal state beneath what we believe to be reality. Tessa Dick calls upon that theme. The prose in THE OWL IN DAYLIGHT, is lighter and you’ll find more flights of fancy and fewer references to archeological finds and actual history. She has, however, succeeded in writing a touching tribute to Dick.
The narrator of Therouxâ€™s post-apocalyptic novel, FAR NORTH, Makepeace Hatfield (who lives up to the name), is the last survivor of an immigrant Siberian community â€“ a place Makepeaceâ€™s British parents had come to to escape the material world. But the rescue of a starving waif awakens Makepeaceâ€™s longing for companionship, love and civilization, spurring the road trip that drives the novel.
After a fourteen year hiatus, author Pat Conroy is back with a long awaited novel, SOUTH OF BROAD. His last novel BEACH MUSIC was quite good, as is this latest offering. However, to my mind, nothing beats Conroy’s PRINCE OF TIDES and THE GREAT SANTINI, although SOUTH OF BROAD comes close. There are similarities in all Conroy’s novels – his characters, their lives, dilemmas, and the author’s obvious love for the American South. The common thread which weaves its way throughout his work are autobiographical elements. According to a recent magazine interview, Conroy states that he writes from his own life experiences, which might explain why many of his characters have such emotionally traumatic childhoods. Conroy, the first of seven children, was born into a military family, and was the victim of his father’s violence and abuse from a young age. The military life – his father was a US Marine Corps pilot – also pushed the family from post to post, and Conroy claims to have moved 23 times before he was 18. When he was 15 he moved to Beaufort, SC, and began his love affair with the South. He is also a graduate of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, a school featured in many of his novels.
Malcolm Gladwell’s WHAT THE DOG SAW AND OTHER ADVENTURES is a compilation of the author’s favorite work from The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1996. This book is divided into three parts: 1. Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius; 2. Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses; 3. Personality, Character, and Intelligence.
Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS is a thought-provoking and entertaining analysis in which the author explores why certain people fall outside the norms of human behavior and achievement. For example, how did Bill Gates became a superstar in his field while other equally talented and intelligent men and women failed to reach their potential?
In REAL LIFE & LIARS, protagonist Mira Zielinski represents a new demographic for our times: hippie turned senior, at age sixty-five still free-spirited and defiant, who has decided to refuse treatment for her recently diagnosed breast cancer. Sheâ€™s also decided to withhold the diagnosis from her three grown children, as they converge on the family home for a grand 35th anniversary party. As it turns out, however, the Zielinski children are bringing home a few secrets of their own.