Archive for July, 2010

THE HOMECOMING PARTY by Carmine Abate

The poverty of Southern Italy and the negative results of globalization are at the roots of the novella The Homecoming Party from Italian author Carmine Abate. Told through the eyes of Marco Tullio, the story covers certain pivotal moments in the lives of Marco’s family.

The book begins in Southern Italy at a Christmas bonfire while Marco sits with his father on the steps of a church. These are good times for 12-year-old Marco as he basks in the all-too rare company of his father, but as the evening wears on, Marco’s father tells stories about working in France, and Marco’s mind wanders off to thoughts of his sister Elisa who attends the University of Cosenza and returns home for the weekends.

July 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, italy, Translated, World Lit

STRANGERS by Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner is arguably one of the finest prose writers living today. Her keen precision and clean, stark sentences are edged with luminous turns of phrase and biting ironies. Her characters lead insular, lonely lives and rarely do anything optimistic with their existence, no matter how astute their insight.

Retired banker Paul Sturgis is no exception. He is 72 years old and lives a tightly circumscribed life. There is minimal pleasure in his activities, such as frequenting art museums, occasional travel around Europe, visiting his hairdresser, and his obligatory sojourns to a distant relative, Helena. Walking is his favorite activity, and it is during his perambulations that he examines his life in detail.

July 26, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: Character Driven, End-of-Life, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE DEAD REPUBLIC by Roddy Doyle

THE DEAD REPUBLIC from Irish author Roddy Doyle is the third volume in “The Last Roundup” trilogy. In the first volume, A STAR CALLED HENRY, Henry Smart is a youthful soldier for the IRA. He participates in the Easter Uprising of 1916 and fights in the Irish War for Independence. In the second volume, OH, PLAY THAT THING, the action shifts to America with Henry, his wife and two children trying to eke a living in the depression era. Henry loses a leg and becomes separated from his family. THE DEAD REPUBLIC picks up Henry’s saga for the third and final installment.

July 25, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Ireland, Reading Guide, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

A DARKER GOD by Barbara Cleverly

A DARKER GOD is my introduction to Barbara Cleverly fiction, and I enjoyed getting to know her Laetitia Talbot, who reminds me of Deanna Raybourn’s Julia Grey and Tasha Alexander’s Emily Ashton, although Talbot gallivants and sleuths about in a later era.

July 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant

In 16th-century Italy, a noblewoman of marriageable age had two choices: marriage and children, or reclusion to a convent. With the price of wedding dowries rising ever higher, most noble families could only afford to marry off one daughter. The rest, for a much-reduced dowry, went to the convent. But “not all went willingly,” author Sarah Dunant states in her preface, a deliciously ominous portent of the story to come.

July 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, italy

MY WIFE’S AFFAIR by Nancy Woodruff

If you’ve got a hot work project with an overdue deadline, a soccer game that you simply must attend, or any “must do” commitments in the next couple of days, whatever you do, DON’T pick up this book. It will grip you, entice you, and place you under its spell. And in the end, it just may break your heart.

July 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, United Kingdom