Archive for February, 2010
Henning Mankell’s THE MAN FROM BEIJING, ably translated by Laurie Thompson, opens in January 2006. It is eerily quiet in the northern Swedish hamlet of HesjÃ¶vallen. No smoke rises from the chimneys and not a soul stirs. A photographer studying deserted villages in Sweden arrives and knocks on doors, but no one answers. Fearing that something is wrong, he breaks into one of the houses…
Ted Conover won a National Book Critics Circle award for his last work of non-fiction, NEWJACK, a narrative about the Sing Sing prison. One can imagine that after such an endeavor he went after freedomâ€”the essence of it personified by a wide stretch of empty road.
In his new book, THE ROUTES OF MAN, Conover takes a look at different roads all across the world and takes us along for the ride.
A “tangle” of sea serpents, (as in a pod of whales, or a litter of puppies or kittens), made their way from the sea, fighting to move up the Rain Wilds River in the perilous journey to their ancient cocooning grounds. These sickly serpents, the first of their kind in generations, were led by the dragon queen Tintaglia, in the hopes of preventing the race of dragons from dying out. The serpents were too weak to make it to their intended destination and stopped, out of necessity, in the Rain Wilds, where the river’s acid waters and thick, impenetrable forests is a hard place for any to survive, let alone hibernate and hatch into healthy “dragonlings.” It was in this unhealthy environment that they spun their wizardwood cocoons and went into hibernation….
Author Leighton Gageâ€™s third Chief Inspector Mario Silva mystery Dying Gasp centres on a Brazilian snuff film ring. Iâ€™ve read all three of Gageâ€™s novels and while they tackled different social problems in Brazil, DYING GASP is the darkest, grimmest to date. Given the subject matter, that shouldnâ€™t be too surprising. If you havenâ€™t tried the Mario Silva novels yet, and if you enjoy series detective novels with an international, social/political theme, then give Leighton Gage a try. His novels are a cut above most of the detective novels on the market.
The main character tells another, “Science fiction is the Olympic Games of the imaginatively fit.” Adam Roberts certainly is in the running for a gold medal with YELLOW BLUE TIBIA. His novel, in the form of a Soviet science fiction writer’s memoir, leads the reader on a perplexing, high-strung, high-concept pursuit. Konstantin Skvorecky (the writer); Stalin; KGB officers; other science fiction writers; an American man and woman representing Scientology; and a phobic, tic-ridden taxi driver all play their parts in this elaborate, ironic, schizophrenic “fantasy.”
British novelist Lively, winner of the Booker Prize (MOON TIGER) and an expert in the darkish art of domestic wit, celebrates big, happy families in her twenty-second book, FAMILY ALBUM. To matriarch Alison, family is, simply, what she lives for, even now that her six children have dispersed to distant parts and seldom return.