Archive for the ‘Debut Novel’ Category

WAKE by Anna Hope

One of the aspects of this impressive debut by Anna Hope that makes me raise my hat is the effectiveness with which she handles its secondary thread. In italics interspersing the main story a page or two at a time, are little vignettes as British officials exhume the body of an unidentified soldier from the battlefields of Northern France, prepare it for a new coffin, and take it with due solemnity to its final resting place in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The vignettes, and the story that they enfold, span a five-day period leading up to November 11, 1920, the second anniversary of the Armistice. The First World War is over, but what has become of the survivors?

February 2, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, United Kingdom, World Lit

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

THE PAST AHEAD by Gilbert Gatore

Gilbert Gatore’s debut novel THE PAST AHEAD, (Le passé devant, 2008) has literally taken my breath away while reading and for quite some time afterwards. Without ever mentioning either the country by name or the concept of genocide, the author brings the reader intimately close to the emotional turmoil of his two protagonists as they, from their very dissimilar post-trauma reality struggle to re-adjust to life after theirs was forever changed. They stand, without doubt as representatives for many.

January 20, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Africa, Debut Novel, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE KEPT by James Scott

From the opening line of this striking debut novel, the mood and voice are both haunting and laced with shame.

“Elspeth Howell was a sinner.”

It is three years shy of the turn of the twentieth century, upstate New York, bitterly cold and snowy with grey, smudgy skies. Elspeth is trudging miles from the train station to her family’s isolated home, and she is carrying gifts for her five children and pious, Bible-quoting husband. She’s been gone for four months, not unusual for her midwifery practice. As she rises up the crest of the last hill, she sees her house…

January 18, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE by Emma Chapman

Marta Bjornstad is the chillingly robotic narrator of Emma Chapman’s psychological thriller, How to Be a Good Wife, a disturbing portrait of a woman whose mind may be playing tricks on her. After twenty-five years of marriage, Marta’s existence is tightly regimented: She shops, cooks, cleans the house, does laundry, and tends to her husband, Hector’s, needs. The title is derived from a book of the same name filled with platitudes about how a perfect spouse should behave. Marta’s controlling and overbearing mother-in-law, Matilda, presented the book to her sons’ young bride as a wedding gift, expecting Marta to dutifully memorize every page. One example of the book’s contents: “Your husband belongs to the outside world. The house is your domain, and your responsibility.”

January 10, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Family Matters, Psychological Suspense

ABOVE ALL THINGS by Tanis Rideout

Above All Things is the story of George Mallory’s third and final attempt to conquer Mount Everest. I am no mountain climber but those who climb and “conquer” mountains have always fascinated me as does the process these mountaineers undergo to make a successful climb. Years ago I read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, and then Simon Mawer’s The Fall and I was hooked. To me, Everest has always been the “Big One.” Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, its peak rising more than 29,000 feet. Back in the early 20th century it was a mountain that had defeated and/or killed all who attempted to scale her. Mallory and his team had made two attempts and failed. Unfortunately, today more than 3,500 people have successfully climbed the 29,029 ft. mountain and more than a tenth of that number scaled the peak just over the past year. On one day alone in 2012, 234 climbers reached the peak, (a bit crowded)….leaving their “junk” all over the mountain….

January 6, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, India-Pakistan, Literary, Reading Guide, World Lit