Archive for February, 2014

CARTHAGE by Joyce Carol Oates

CARTHAGE is quintessential Oates. It is stylistically similar to many of her other books with the utilization of parentheses, repetitions and italics to make the reader take note of what is important and remind us of what has transpired previously. The book is good but it is not Oates’ best.

February 28, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York

BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK by Ben Fountain

Billy Lynn – the eponymous hero of this book – is a genuine American hero. He and his fellow Bravo Squad members decimated an insurgency – caught on film by an embedded Fox News crew — and became overnight sensations in a nation starved for good news about Iraq. They are brought home for a media-intensive “Victory Tour” – in cities that happen to lie in an electoral swing state — to reinvigorate support for the war. We meet them at the end of that tour, on a rainy Thanksgiving, hosted by America’s Team, The Dallas Cowboys.

February 27, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, National Book Award Finalist, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), Texas, Unique Narrative, United States, y Award Winning Author

THE UNAMERICANS by Molly Antopol

A title such as THE UNAMERICANS begs this question: what is an American? Or more specifically, what is an American in Molly Antopol’s world? A traditional answer might be to have a personal sense of identity and to be unencumbered to pursue one’s most shining hopes and dreams in a land where anything is possible.

Molly Antopol’s characters are mostly Jewish and they are mostly alienated – from spouse or kids, from past ideology and beliefs, and often, from their most authentic selves. Each story is a little gem onto itself.

February 26, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 5 under 35, Short Stories, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

LONG MAN by Amy Greene

“You can’t stand against a flood, Annie Clyde.” Oh, yes she can. Or at least die trying. A descendant of the native Cherokees, Annie Clyde Dodson has deep-rooted connections to the land of Yuneetah, Tennessee. Long Man, the river that courses through, is tempestuous and moody but the farmers here have learned to corral its powers to make their living off the land. The Tennessee Valley Authority though, has other plans. A dam has been built upstream and in a matter of a few days, Yuneetah will be under water. Annie Clyde is one of the last holdouts. She just can’t up and leave the land which she wanted her daughter, Gracie, to know and love. And as much as her husband has plans to find factory work up north in Michigan, Annie can’t stomach the thought of a stark existence away from the natural surroundings she loves.

February 25, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South

THIS IS A STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE by Ann Patchett

Before Ann Patchett achieved fame as a novelist, she honed her writing skills as a contributor to Seventeen, where she worked for eight years. She also wrote articles for such publications as Elle, Vogue, Gourmet, and the New York Times Magazine. These free-lance jobs paid Ann’s bills and taught her self-discipline, flexibility, and humility. THIS IS A STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE is a compilation of Ann Patchett’s most memorable essays.

All of Patchett’s pieces are nicely done, but some are particularly meaningful.

February 24, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction

STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indridason

Arnaldur Indridason’s most recent novel available in English, STRANGE SHORES, is the most thoughtful, subtle and sympathetic portrait of Reykjavik Police Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson I have read. The author shines an intimate searching light on the seasoned, somewhat curmudgeon, Erlendur, and a tragedy in his past that “convinced [him] there and then that he would never be a happy man.” On vacation in the village of his childhood, situated in a remote part of the eastern region of Iceland, Erlendur cannot escape the long lost or suppressed memories of two disappearances that of his young brother in one of the sudden vicious storms and of a young woman in another.

February 22, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Iceland, Sleuths Series