Archive for April, 2010
A paean to the Dordogne, an exploration of fractious French history, and the debut of the most self-possessed, accomplished, even-tempered, life-savoring Holmesian character ever, WalkerвЂ™s first Bruno novel proves once and for all that heavyweight journalists can write mystery novels.
Throughout the first half of Greg Bear’s CITY AT THE END OF TIME, the reader checks in on half a dozen characters all have a part to play in either the saving or the resetting of the universe. Two of the characters, Jack Rohmer and Virginia Carol (Ginny), dream about the city at the end of time, the Kalpa, and for brief periods, their consciousnesses inhabit their counterparts there.
If you find short story collections a great way to discover new authors, then you might want to take a look at OX-TALES. These are 4 pint-sized volumes featuring stories loosely based on the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. As these volumes are designed to raise money for Oxfa m International (hence the title of the series), they are the publishing worldвЂ™s version of Live Aid.
“And now, with the force more stunning than anything she had experienced before, her memory restored itself to her, dreams and all, and filled her with terrible pangs for what she had seen in the ice; she had seen, she knew, a deaf musician, a barefoot mountain climber with miniscule feet, a girl tattooed with a living dragon, a boy walking down the road. Each of these things she had seen had foretold both an end and a beginning, which, even in her current extremity, Eunice recognized as a choice.”
Frederick Reiken’s DAY FOR NIGHT is an astonishing and magical book filled with mystery, history and compelling narratives. At its center is a supposed occurrence during the Holocaust wherein 500 of Lithuania’s most educated and cultured jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. The novel is comprised of several linked narratives, each one told by someone else. At first it is difficult to see how these narratives are connected, but as the story unfolds, the reader is able to recognize the connections. They unfold beautifully like a field of flowers. Multiple plots and subplots meld together to create an indelible whole.
Leo Tolstoy famously opened Anna Karenina with the observation that, вЂњAll happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.вЂќ He was 45 when he wrote that. Thirty-seven years later, at age 82, he would die at the remote Astapovo train station, not far from his home, after fleeing, in the middle of the night, his estranged wife of 48 years, abandoning his family, his wealth, and setting out to live the life of a wandering ascetic. Ironically, he fulfilled the observation that his family was, indeed, singularly unhappy.