Archive for September, 2010

C by Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy’s latest novel, C, is a strange book that, without the draw of a gripping plot or the pathos of interesting, well-rounded characters, somehow manages to intrigue all the same. Perhaps the appeal lies in McCarthy’s haunting prose. Or, perhaps it’s the unshakeable feeling that underneath it all – underneath the layered ideas – there’s a message of sorts, a message as profound as it is ephemeral: just as you think you’ve figured it all out, it escapes you. Whatever the reason, C, while far from perfect, is a bizarrely captivating book.

September 26, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Reading Guide, United Kingdom

THE WOMAN WITH THE BOUQUET by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

In this title short story, “The Woman with the Bouquet,” Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt blends his trademark elements of fairy tale romance, pathos, and fatedness. It radiates mystery and romanticism but also a ghostly bit of menace, and it cuts to a marrow of sorrow. It appeals to our curiosity about the “obsessing” people in this world who will not be moved from their own missions, and simultaneously it reminds us that time spent waiting for something is time not spent doing something else more “constructive.” Loyalty and love would seem to be the motivators of the woman, but perhaps she just is retiring from the world by standing there every day?

September 25, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: France, Short Stories, Translated

THE WIDOWER’S TALE by Julia Glass

I loved THREE JUNES by Julia Glass and her newest novel, THE WIDOWER’S TALE, has much the same wonderful flavor about it. This languid story of a family dealing with their relationships with one another and the instrusions of the outside world delights the senses. The central character is Percival Darling, widowed for the last thirty-two years, and a somewhat crusty, cynical and reclusive personality.

September 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, Reading Guide

AN UNFINISHED SCORE by Elise Blackwell

Classical music, and the games of evasion and deception we play with the ones we love, create the engine that drives this lyrical, well-crafted story by acclaimed author Elise Blackwell. The premise is simple but compelling: Career violist Suzanne hears over the radio about the death of her lover, orchestral conductor Alex Elling, in a plane crash. She can only grieve secretly amid the members of her household, which include emotionally-distant husband Ben, irreverent best friend and fellow musician Petra and her young, deaf daughter. Suzanne soldiers on, rehearsing with her string quartet, playing second mother to Petra’s daughter, until a phone call from her former lover’s widow changes her life a second time. Suzanne and Alex’s secret affair was no secret, in the end, and now his widow extorts a favor from Suzanne: to finish the viola concerto started by her deceased husband. Desperate to keep the affair secret, even now, Suzanne reluctantly agrees.

September 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary

BLUE DUETS by Kathleen Wall

Lila Jameson is a professional pianist living in Montreal. She specializes in chamber music — that is, playing with one or two other musicians rather than solo — so intense intimate interactions with others are an integral part of her life. But right now, her musical exchanges are in danger of being eclipsed by her personal ones. Her mother is dying of cancer and has rejected further treatments. Her husband, Rob, a professor of history, has become distant and Lila suspects an affair. Her daughter, Lindsay, is breaking up with her boyfriend. And Lila herself, at fifty-three, feels herself at a crossroads of her life, both blind and naked at the same time.

September 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Canada, Contemporary

THE IMMORTALS by Amit Chaudhuri

THE IMMORTALS is a tale of two families: one luxuriating in a new world of corporate affluence and the other getting by on the old world of musical tradition. Together, they are joined by a “common, day-to-day pursuit of music.”

Music is the thread that ties this book together, and Amit Chaudhuri knows his stuff. He is, himself, a composer and musician and the meticulous detail and grand amount of exposition is clearly written by a man who has inhabited the world he creates.

September 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: India-Pakistan, World Lit, y Award Winning Author