Archive for January, 2010

EVENING’S EMPIRE by Bill Flanagan

At 645 pages, EVENING’S EMPIRE by Bill Flanagan is not a book to be read quickly or lightly, but then since the novel explores forty years of the changing face of the music industry, there’s a lot of material to cover. This marvelous novel is partly a trip into the nostalgic past, and partly an insider’s view of the underbelly of the music biz.

January 17, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History

BROTHERS by Yu Hua

If one is asked to summarize BROTHERS, most likely the answer would be something like this: Two brothers lose each other as each tries in his own way to cope with massive change, first cultural and then economic. One gains immense wealth, the other loses hope…and his life. Yet, despite it all, their bond remains.

January 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: China, Facing History, Family Matters, Humorous, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

GO WITH ME by Castle Freeman, Jr.

We actually get to meet the iconic Sheriff Ripley Wingate in Freeman’s acclaimed, dialogue-driven third novel, GO WITH ME. Ripley only appears briefly – at the beginning and the end – but he sets the story going and his existence is something of a reassurance to the good ol’ woodchucks that gather and blather at Whizzer’s defunct sawmill.

A scared, defiant young woman, Lillian, comes to Wingate for protection against the thuggish Blackway. She has offended Blackway and in return he has stalked her, trashed her car and killed her cat. She believes, with reason, he is going to kill her. But Wingate tells her there’s nothing he – the law – can do…

January 15, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Humorous, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, Reading Guide

ALL THAT I HAVE by Castle Freeman, Jr.

Backwoods “sheriffing” is a holistic sort of activity, bearing little resemblance to “policing,” as most people understand the concept. Vermont author Freeman’s longstanding rumination on the subject steps to the fore in this wry, dry, fourth novel.

Narrator Lucian Wing, sheriff of Ambrose and 17 surrounding towns, doesn’t wear a uniform and he leaves his gun in his sock drawer. He does keep the county’s expensive shotgun in the trunk of the sheriff’s car, but he rarely uses the car. “I like my truck. Plus it saves the county money.”

January 15, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Humorous, NE & New York

LYING WITH THE DEAD by Michael Mewshaw

LYING WITH THE DEAD by Michael Mewshaw is a novel about a dysfunctional family but it is also much more than that. It is a Greek tragedy, a morality tale, a story about the conflicting and diametrically opposed emotions that grip us all, and a novel about sibling love. The novel unfolds in chapters told from the points of view of each of the children – - Quinn, Maury and Candy.

January 14, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters

JOHNNY FUTURE by Steve Abee

Steve Abee has created, in JOHNNY FUTURE, a character with a unique voice and energy. He represents a blend of a hyper-urbanized Holden Caulfield, sassy and street-smart, with a big-hearted and wide-eyed Huck Finn. It is no small matter that I compare Johnny Future, the character, with these two icons of American literature. I find him that compelling, his voice that unrelenting. It is a voice that becomes less concise and more shrill in the latter half of the novel, but that is to be expected, given the course of events. What else would you expect from a guy named Future, with a hooker girlfriend named America, a buddy named Jesus and sidekick called Beast? But I am getting ahead of myself.

January 13, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life