Archive for the ‘Man Booker Nominee’ Category
Jim Craceâ€™s Harvest reads like a simple moral fable of a tiny and remote medieval English village, destroyed externally and internally by the conversion of farms into sheep pastures, but wait! There is far more to it than meets the eye.
Mr. Crace is particularly interested in pairings: everything comes in twos, right from the opening pages.. Two signals of smoke rise up: one signaling the arrival of new neighbors who are announcing their right to stay; the second, a blaze that indicates the master Kentâ€™s dovecote is gone and his doves taken.
Both subplots radiate from these two twinned smoke signals. The stories, narrated by Walter â€“ the manservant of Kent who was paired with him from the start by sharing the same milk â€“ is both an insider and an outsider (yet another pairing). He is not of the village although he has become part of it.
NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, WE NEED NEW NAMES, is the story of Darling, a young Zimbabwean girl living in a shantytown called Paradise. She is feisty ten-year old, an astute observer of her surroundings and the people in her life. Bulawayo structures her novel more like a series of linked stories, written in episodic chapters, told loosely chronologically than in one integrated whole. In fact, the short story “Hitting Budapest,” that became in some form an important chapter in this “novel,” won the prestigious 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.
In addition to Darling, the stories introduce her gang of close friends. They are vividly and realistically drawn and we can easily imagine them as they roam free in their neighbourhood and also secretly walk into “Budapest,” a near-by district of the well-off…
Rose Tremain is not only a prolific writer, but she is a great one. Each of her novels is different in theme, tenor, and topic. TRESPASS, her most recent book, is a dark, eerie and grim themed novel with a definite gothic undertone. Set in the southern part of France, in an area known as the Cevennes region, the land itself is portrayed as something feral and alive, so filled with lush growth, insects, snakes and sounds, that it has a life of its own.
While David Mitchell is undoubtedly a talented writer, and ideas abound in the centuries-spanning, globe-trotting narratives that make up CLOUD ATLAS, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed with this book. Of course, it’s entirely possible my disappointment was born from high expectations: Mitchell has been lauded as the best of a generation, and before the recent release of THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET, CLOUD ATLAS was widely trumpeted as his best book. And whileCLOUD ATLAS is a highly-entertaining smorgasbord of styles â€“ a little something for everyone â€“ it is also a post-modern comment on the ontological status of narrative that doesn’t fully come off.
Somewhere toward the end of this inventive and imaginative novel, peasant nature poet John Clare muses about “the maze of a life with no way out, paths taken, places been.”
In reality — and much of this book IS based on reality — each of the characters within these pages will enter into a maze — figuratively, through the twists and turns of diseased minds, and literally, through the winding paths of the nearby forest. Some will escape unscathed and others will never emerge. But all will be altered.
June 28, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 2014 authors, Identity, Lord Byron, Mental Health/Illness, poetry, Real Event Fiction, Real People Fiction Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, Man Booker Nominee, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author
THE NORTHERN CLEMENCY by Philip Hensher is a sprawling novel that explores the lives of two middle class families against the backdrop of the Thatcher era. The novel, which begins and ends in Sheffield, spans the years 1974-1994, and as the history of the Glover and the Sellers families unfolds, replete with adultery, deceit, and scandal, significant social shifts in the country take place. Author Philip Hensher explores two decades in the lives of these people–relationships sour and fail, and new, unexpected relationships are formed. By 1994, the characters have all endured a range of experiences including forced early retirement, illness, and alienation. On a national level, the changes are also dramatic: The Minersâ€™ Strike, the Right-to-Buy Scheme (the sale of council homes) and the privatization of the UK electric industry have all taken place, and the characters have had some role to play in the changes.