Archive for January, 2014

THE BIRD SKINNER by Alice Greenway

For any reader who revels in confident, lyrical prose – rich in detail with meticulously chosen words – Alice Greenway’s book will enchant.

The storyline focuses on the elderly and irascible ornithologist Jim Kennoway, who, at the end of his career, retreats to a Maine island after his leg is amputated. There, tortured by past memories and fortified by alcohol and solitude, he eschews the company of others. Yet early on, he receives an unwanted visitor: Cadillac, the daughter of Tosca, who teamed with him as a scout to spy on the Japanese army in the Solomon Islands.

January 31, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, NE & New York

THE GHOST OF MARY CELESTE by Valerie Martin

FACT: “The Mary Celeste,” (or “Marie Céleste” as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him), was a British-built American-owned merchant brigantine famous for having been discovered on 5 December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean, between the Azores and Portugal, unmanned and apparently abandoned, (the one lifeboat was missing, along with its 7 member crew, the captain, his wife and small daughter). The ship was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and its cargo and provisions were intact. The crew’s belongings including valuables were still in place. There was no sign of foul play. None of those on board was ever seen or heard from again and their disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time. There was nothing written in the ship’s log to account for the vanishing. ” (Wikipedia entry)

January 30, 2014 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author

BEFORE I BURN by Gaute Heivoll

Gaute Heivoll has written both a compelling novel and a historical and fact-driven book that examines a series of fires that occurred during two months in 1978 Norway. It is told from the perspective of the author who was born during the year that the arson occurred, as well as from the perspective of the arsonist who was in his twenties when the author was born.

January 29, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Literary, Norway, Translated

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki

How do a century-old modern-thinking Buddhist nun, a WW II kamikaze pilot, a bullied 16-year-old Japanese schoolgirl on the verge of suicide, her suicidal father, a struggling memoirist on a remote island of British Columbia, Time, Being, Proust, language, philosophy, global warming, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami connect?

In this brilliantly plotted and absorbing, layered novel, one can find the theme in a quote from Proust, quoted by Ozeki:

“In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self.”

January 27, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, 2013 Man Booker Shortlist, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Japan, Literary, Unique Narrative

THE WAYS OF EVIL MEN by Leighton Gage

Leighton Gage, who spent a great deal of his time in Brazil, used his extensive knowledge of the country’s political, economic, and social climate to create an outstanding series of police procedurals. His latest, The Ways of Evil Men, published posthumously, opens with a heartbreaking scene. Anati, a member of the Awana tribe who live in the rainforest, goes hunting with his eight-year-old son, Raoni. When the two return to their village they discover that all thirty-nine members of their tribe are dead. Who killed these men, women, and children? Jade Calmon, an employee of the federal government’s National Indian Foundation, will not stop asking questions until she learns the truth. Since the local law enforcement authorities have no love for the Awana, Jade is forced to pull strings in order to bring in the big guns: Mario Silva, Chief Inspector of the Brazilian Federal Police, Arnaldo Nunes, Silva’s partner, and a support team that includes other agents and an assistant medical examiner.

January 26, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Brazil, Latin American/Caribbean, Sleuths Series, World Lit

PALISADES PARK by Alan Brennert

PALISADES PARK is no roller coaster ride of a novel, rather it is a well written love letter to a “cherished part of the author’s childhood.” (author’s quote). This is a fascinating historical fiction, written with love to a magical place and era long gone.

January 25, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, NE & New York