Archive for February, 2010
Vienna, 1903, is the pervasive ambiance of Frank Tallisâ€™ book, VIENNA SECRETS. The atmosphere is spellbinding in its depiction of the people, architecture, food, mores, culture, and religious discord of the time. It is also a literary thriller in its finest form.
What can one say about Irish writers? Deep into this book, hereâ€™s what Josephine Hart says: â€śA city that had produced Joyce and Beckett and Yeats, a country that produced poet-heroes and more priests and nuns per head of population than almost any on earth was not going to spawn boys who just wanted to stand before a packed hall of gyrating teenagers and strum their guitars and sing. They had to have a message. One of salvation; they were in it to save the world. Like I said, weâ€™re teachers, missionaries.â€ť And then, a few pages later, as a character summarizes a reading experience: â€śWhen I finished the book I thought, language–thatâ€™s his real subject, not history.â€ť When you read sentences like these, in a book like this, you sense youâ€™re on to something special. The Irish writers take themselves seriously. They are bent, as noted above, towards the mission–with style.
I’ve been a fan of Robert Crais for a long time and I’m especially partial to his character, Pike. Pike first starred in the THE WATCHMAN, published in 2008. He makes his appearance again in THE FIRST RULE, an edge-of-your-reading-seat thriller. This new book by Crais has it all: murder, mayhem, hookers, dirty arms deals, mercenaries, the FBI, the LAPD and the Serbian Mafia. The novel starts with the cold blooded murder of Frank Meyer, his wife and children, and his nanny. Frank and Pike are old friends from Pike’s mercenary days and Pike decides to solve the crime and bring the murderers to justice – his style of justice.
Don DeLilloâ€™s POINT OMEGA is a slim and subtle novel. It is so slim that very little happens and so subtle that the reader will be left to question exactly what happened here and what any of it means.
The book begins and ends with with the viewing of a film exhibit at New Yorkâ€™s Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit is called 24 Hour Psycho and it screens Hitchcockâ€™s famous movie in slow motion, without sound, for a full twenty-four hours.
If you are mad about SOMEWHERE IN TIME and/or H. G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE, THE KINGDOM OF OHIO may be right up your alley. A star-crossed love story intertwines with questions of how people might leap from one time and place to another. However,THE KINGDOM OF OHIO would have been a more original story if it had been published during Well’s time, or even just before 1980 when the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour movie was first released. Those who keep up with current physics theories and read science fiction and fantasy will find more derivative than seminal thought here, but this novel still emanates power to engage.
Michael Greenbergâ€™s brilliant and mesmerizing memoir, HURRY DOWN SUNSHINRE, of his daughterâ€™s madness is a poignant and terrifying book about the depths and peaks of mania and the desperate struggle that a loved one will go to in order to bring someone back from the world of psychosis.
When Greenbergâ€™s daughter, Sally, first becomes psychotic, he thinks it is more her creativity than anything else. He is slow to recognize her manic state. But then, who would first assume that someone they love has gone to a place of madness. â€śBut how does one tell the difference between Platoâ€™s â€śdivine madnessâ€ť and gibberish? Between enthousiasmos (literally, to be inspired by a god) and lunacy? Between the prophet and the â€śmedically mad.â€ť