Archive for September, 2010
Okay, maybe Ryan Bingham might have qualified. But considering that George Clooney‚Äôs character in UP IN THE AIR was entirely fictional, the authorities at Heathrow airport settled on another huge fan of airports‚ÄĒwriter Alain de Botton. They couldn‚Äôt have guessed just how big a fan de Botton is, when they contacted him to be a ‚Äúwriter-in-residence‚ÄĚ for a week and write about the new and glitzy Terminal 5 at Heathrow.
Ora is a fiftyish Israeli woman thinking about her younger son, Ofer, who has not merely left home, but done so in a way that fills her with fear. On the day of his discharge from military service, when he is already on leave at home, he volunteers to join the forces fighting some unspecified action in Southern Lebanon, signing up for a further month. Terrified that at any moment a notification team will turn up at her house to inform her of Ofer’s death, Ora flees to the Galilee mountains, beyond the reach of any news. As her husband Ilan has left her several months before, taking with him their eldest son, Ora is all alone. On impulse, she calls on Avram, a former lover who has fallen on hard times, seeking his company, his listening ear, and perhaps his restoration to mental and physical health, along with her own. The whole novel is essentially her “Month of Magical Thinking,” in which the past combines with the present, folding her personal history and that of her country into an almost mystical union.
Christine Hoflehner, the postmistress in a small village in Austria, seems an unlikely Cinderella. Coming of age in the crippling poverty prevalent in Austria after the First World War, she is now twenty-six, barely holding out on her meager salary as a state employee, without social life, without future. But then a fairy godmother appears in the form of an aunt who has married well in America, who invites her to stay with them at a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. Once there, she lends her fashionable clothes, buys her expensive accessories, and takes her to a beauty salon to complete the transformation. Drab no longer, Christine is now the belle of the ball, courted by the rich and titled of several nations. It takes a week or more before her personal clock strikes midnight, but when it does and she flees home in shame, she can no longer be content with the humdrum life she had left behind. This becomes the story of a Cinderella after the ball, with no prince to appear with the glass slipper.
Val McDermid’s FEVER OF THE BONE is the latest installment in her series featuring Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, who have been close friends for years. They are both struggling with deep-seated scars from traumatic experiences that left them shaken. As a result, Carol has become a bit too fond of alcohol and Tony is a loner who believes that he is unfit for anything but his work as a criminal profiler and psychologist. Carol is the fiercely ambitious and dedicated leader of the Bradfield Metropolitan Police’s Major Incident Team. Unfortunately, she has a new boss, Chief Constable James Blake, who thinks that her specialized and highly skilled task force is an unaffordable luxury that should be disbanded and absorbed into the mainstream of the CID. Jordan tries to prove him wrong when several adolescents are found murdered and mutilated by someone who lured them to their deaths. Meanwhile, in West Mercia, Worcester, Detective Inspector Stuart Patterson and Detective Sergeant Alvin Ambrose are anxious to find the killer of fourteen-year-old Jennifer Maidment. Her body was found even before her mother reported her missing.
In Dexter Morgan’s fifth outing, DEXTER IS DELICIOUS, our devilish and alliterative slasher and narrator is in danger of becoming a mushy and sentimental softie. His wife, Rita, has given birth to an adorable baby girl named Lily Anne, and Dexter is head over heels in love with his brand new bundle of joy. As he stands in the nursery gazing at the baby, he suddenly wants to embrace life, not death. “I want to hold her. I want to sit her on my lap and read her Christopher Robin and Dr. Seuss.” In short, he decides, “I don’t want to be Dark Dexter anymore.” If he were to kill again, it would be to protect his beautiful child from any predator who would dare to touch a hair on her lovely head.
Emma Donoghue is not afraid of making bold choices. Her first is the narrative voice she adapts in ROOM: that of five-year-old Jack, a young boy who was born and has lived his entire life in an 11-foot by 11-foot room. One might think the voice would eventually become cloying or overly precious or manipulative or downright tiring. But it never does.
September 18, 2010
¬∑ Judi Clark ¬∑ No Comments
Tags: Life Choices, Little, Little Brown & Co, Motherhood ¬∑ Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Commonwealth Prize, Contemporary, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author