Archive for the ‘Family Matters’ Category
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.”
Koren Zailckas’ Mother, Mother is a tale of psychological horror–a savage portrayal of a narcissist, Josephine Hurst, who lies compulsively, shamelessly manipulates her family, and tries to destroy anyone who crosses her. This disturbing story is told in alternating chapters by twelve-year-old William Hurst and his sixteen-year-old sister, Violet. William is mommy’s prissy little boy whom Josephine home schools (he has been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy) and infantilizes; Will is completely dependent on his mother and will do anything to stay in her good graces. Violet, on the other hand, is a rebel. She chops off her hair, takes mind-altering substances, and refuses to be intimidated by Josephine’s sick behavior. Josephine’s husband, Douglas, is, for the most part, an ineffectual bystander who gives his wife free reign. Missing from the picture is twenty-year-old Rose, whom Josephine was grooming to be a famous actress. Rose left home abruptly and never returned.
December 28, 2013
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Crown Publishing, Dysfunctional, Mental Health/Illness, Motherhood Â· Posted in: Debut Novel, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense
From the opening pages, it is evident that Gilbert can write with lyricism, confidence, and substance. I was afraid that her mass popularity would lead to a dumbed down book with pandering social/political agendas or telegraphed notions. I am thrilled to conclude that this was not the case. Gilbert is a superb writer who allows her main characters to spring forth as organically as the natural world that they live in.
December 5, 2013
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Elizabeth Gilbert', Nature, Time Period Fiction, Viking Â· Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Family Matters, Reading Guide, United States, US Mid-Atlantic
Nellie Peck is thirteen years old going on forty. She is wise, intelligent and impulsive. Despite her precociousness, however, she is still a child. She lives with her parents and two siblings, Ruth and Henry; Ruth is a half-sister from a relationship that her mother had in high school. The Pecks are struggling financially. Nellie’s mother works as a hair dresser and Nellie’s father owns a hardware store that is slowly going under. Her father’s passion is his writing – he is writing a tome about the history of their town, Springvale. His goal is to get it self-published so that it can be read by a wide audience.
Anne Enright, author of the 2007 Booker Prize winner, THE GATHERING, has written a new novel called THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ. It is told from the point of view of Gina Moynihan who has a lust-filled affair with a married man, Sean Vallely. They first meet at a garden party hosted by Anneâ€™s sister Fiona, and progresses from there. At first there are innocent (and not so innocent) looks, and then on a business trip in Switzerland, the affair begins in earnest.
George Baxter Henry is no paragon of virtue. In fact, he is a paradigm of vice, with a penchant for lustful young women. His marriage is on the rocks and his fractured family is falling apart. Connor Bowmanâ€™s novella after The Last Estate takes us back to the South of Franceâ€”this time Nice, but with an American protagonist. In this sinfully laugh-out-loud story about a wounded family trying to stitch itself back together, Bowman manages to make the reader care about these cross and querulous individuals who are headed on a grease skid to oblivion.