Archive for the ‘Drift-of-Life’ Category

LADIES’ MAN by Richard Price

Crude and hilarious, LADIES’ MAN from American author and screenwriter, Richard Price is a week in the life of Kenny Becker, a thirty-year-old college dropout who works as door-to-door salesman selling crappy cheap gadgets. It’s the 1970s, and Kenny lives in New York with his girlfriend, “bank clerk would-be singer” La Donna, a good-looking, marginally talented girl whose big night revolves around a cheesy talent contest at a hole- in-the-wall club called Fantasia. Kenny has a series of failed relationships in his past, and when the book begins, La Donna’s singing lessons, according to Kenny, appear to be placing a strain on the couple.

August 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Drift-of-Life, Humorous, New Orleans

THE ASTRAL by Kate Christensen

THE ASTRAL, by Kate Christensen, gets its title by way of its namesake, the Astral building in Brooklyn, New York. This building houses the protagonist of this book, an aging poet named Harry Quirk. His last name befits him and his family. They are interestingly dysfunctional in many ways.

Harry was once a somewhat well-known poet, teaching poetry workshops and writing his lyrical poems in rhyming and sonnet style. His publisher and mentor has moved to Europe and his style is now out of favor in the United States. His wife, Luz, decides after thirty years of marriage that Harry is having an affair with his best friend, Marion. Despite Harry’s pleading innocence – and he is innocent – Luz does not believe him and she kicks him out of their apartment in the Astral.

August 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters, New York City, Satire, y Award Winning Author

BULLFIGHTING by Roddy Doyle

The thirteen stories in the collection BULLFIGHTING from Irish author Roddy Doyle examine various aspects of male middle age. Eight of these stories first appeared in New Yorker, and in this volume the post-boom stories collectively offer a wry, bittersweet look at the years past and the years yet to come. We see middle-aged men whose wives have left them, middle-aged men whose children have grown and gone, stale marriages, marriages which have converted lovers into friends, the acceptance of disease and aging, and the ever-looming aspect of mortality. Lest I give the wrong impression, these stories are not depressing–instead through these marvellous stories Doyle argues that middle age brings new experiences and new emotions–just when we thought we’d experienced all that life had to offer.

May 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, End-of-Life, Ireland, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author

THE TARTARUS HOUSE ON CRAB by George Szanto

Jack Tartarus comes to his family house on Crab bent on destruction. What follows instead is a reconstruction of his life on this small island near Vancouver, a reuniting of family and neighbors, a closer understanding of those who have died, and the forging of new bonds.

March 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Canada, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters

THE TERRIBLE PRIVACY OF MAXWELL SIM by Jonathan Coe

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the film “The Social Network.” I expect most of us know what the film is about, but for those who don’t, it’s the fictionalized account of the creation of the social networking internet site: Facebook. I liked the film a lot, and one of the things that remained with me after the credits rolled is the changing idea of friendship. In the age of the internet, what does friendship mean? It used to be that we made friends in school, at work or at university, but now many of us have friendships with people online that we’ve never actually met in person. Are these relationships real? Are they substitutes, or are they a facsimile of the “real” thing.

The authenticity of relationships is just one of the many things that trouble the protagonist of Jonathan Coe’s latest novel, THE TERRIBLE PRIVACY OF MAXWELL SIM.

March 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Humorous, Reading Guide, United Kingdom

FALLING SIDEWAYS by Thomas E. Kennedy

In his fantastic and insightful book, On Writing, the prolific writer Stephen King once said: “People love to read about work. God knows why, but they do.”

But what if that work is especially mind-numbing and unfulfilling and involves plodding away at an outfit called the Tank—chatting, shuffling papers, composing reports, sending e-mails and wondering where things went wrong? Would that still make for a readable story? As Thomas Kennedy’s new book, FALLING SIDEWAYS shows, the answer is yes.

March 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Denmark, Drift-of-Life, Literary, Reading Guide, World Lit, y Award Winning Author