Archive for May, 2011

THE SOJOURN by Andrew Krivak

World War I was the deadliest conflict in Western history, but contemporary portrayals of war in literature and cinema primarily focus on examples of combat from the past fifty or sixty years. At a time when the Great War is receding into the annals of distant history, this elegiac and edifying novel has been released–a small, slim but powerful story of a young soldier, Josef Vinich, who hails from a disenfranchised and impoverished family in rural Austria-Hungary.

May 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Austria, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, World Lit

DOC by MARY DORIA RUSSELL

DOC relates how it might have been during 1878-79 when Dr. John Henry Holliday lived in Dodge City, Kansas. “The Deadly Dentist” who later gained fame or infamy, depending on perspective, for “pistoleering” along with the surviving Earp brothers at the O.K. Corral, saved Wyatt Earp’s life in Dodge first. Earp is said to have credited Holliday with saving him, but apparently didn’t share details, so history isn’t sure of the facts. But this novel presents its own story of how it might have happened.

May 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, US Frontier West, Wild West

THE LAND AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Antonio Lobo Antunes

In 1971, Lobo Antunes, recently qualified as a doctor, was drafted into the Portuguese army and sent for two years to Angola, mired already for a decade in a bloody war of independence. Six years after his return, he used this experience for his second novel; it now appears in a magnificent translation by Margaret Jull Costa, whom readers will know from her work with José Saramago.

May 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE SLY COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO CARE by Rahul Bhattacharya

First, a quick background about Indian (specifically Bengali) cinema: The great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, was from the state of West Bengal and is one of Bengal’s most revered sons and cultural icons. It stands to reason that years after Ray’s death, the incredibly talented Rahul Bhattacharya (a fellow Bengali) would use Ray’s famous bildungsroman, Pather Panchali, as the inspiration for his debut novel.

At its most basic essence, Bhattacharya’s THE SLY COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO CARE is also a bildungsroman—it traces the growth and coming of age of its protagonist in a country far away from home, Guyana.

May 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, South America, World Lit

THE WHITE WOMAN ON THE GREEN BICYLE by Monique Roffey

THE WHITE WOMAN ON THE GREEN BICYCLE by Monique Roffey takes an intriguingly different view of the corrosive impact of colonialism. This tale covers fifty years of tumultuous Trinidad history seen through the lives of a married couple–George and Sabine Harwood. The novel begins in 2006–fifty years after the arrival of the Harwoods in Trinidad. They are now in their 70s, and even though they’ve spent more than half a century together, they still, basically, don’t understand each other. Neither do they understand Trinidad.

May 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Caribbean, Class - Race - Gender, Facing History, Reading Guide, World Lit

DECEPTIONS by Rebecca Frayn

Julian Poulter, the first-person narrator of Rebecca Frayn’s DECEPTIONS, is a somewhat priggish individual who says things like, “I’ve always believed one must strive to put painful episodes behind one with the minimum of fuss and bother.” He is a master of denial who, in flashback, tells how he and Annie Wray, a teacher, tried to forge a permanent relationship when he moved in with her and her two children by her late husband. Annie is flightier and far more spontaneous than Julian; each provides a quality that the other lacks.

May 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense, Reading Guide, United Kingdom