Archive for the ‘y Award Winning Author’ Category

HARVEST by Jim Crace

Jim Crace’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 Kent’s dovecote is gone and his doves taken.

Both subplots radiate from these two twinned smoke signals. The stories, narrated by Walter – the manservant of Kent who was paired with him from the start by sharing the same milk – is both an insider and an outsider (yet another pairing). He is not of the village although he has become part of it.

January 15, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Literary, Man Booker Nominee, World Lit

HAPPINESS, LIKE WATER by Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta came to my attention after her story, America, was a finalist for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing. It tells the touching story of a very special friendship between two young women that challenges Nigerian traditions and social conventions… America has been published as one of ten stories in this, her first collection, Happiness, like Water. Okparanta is without a doubt becoming a promising representative of the new generation of Nigerian and African writers who are giving growing prominence to the field of African short fiction writing.

January 12, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Short Stories, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

ANDREW’S BRAIN by E.L. Doctorow

This was a wonderfully easy book to get into and enjoy; now I just need to figure out what it was about! Although there are no quotation marks, it seems to be a dialogue: a man whom we later identify as Andrew talking to what appears to be some kind of psychologist, someone who studies the mind. Andrew himself is a cognitive neuroscientist; he studies the physical brain. On one level, Doctorow seems to be examining the distinction between the two, as though Andrew’s mind were behaving in ways that Andrew’s brain alone cannot explain.

January 9, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Reading Guide, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson’s first novel, SCENES AT THE MUSEUM, began with two words: “I exist!” This one says, “I exist! I exist again! And again!” LIFE AFTER LIFE is a marvel. It’s one of the most inventive novels I’ve ever read, rich with details, beautifully crafted, and filled with metaphysical questions about the nature of time, reality, and the ability of one person to make a dramatic difference based on one small twist of fate. In short, it’s amazing.

January 8, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, 2013 Man Booker Shortlist, Alternate History, Costa Award (Whitbread), Facing History, Literary, Reading Guide, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

WE NEED NEW NAMES by NoViolet Bulawayo

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…

January 5, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Man Booker Nominee, Short Stories, US Midwest, World Lit

THE FLAMETHROWERS by Rachel Kushner

There isn’t much plot in this novel, but it is a hell of story/Bildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno, an art studies graduate in 1977 who dared to race her Moto Valera motorcycle at high-speed velocities to create land art. Land art was a “traceless art” created from leaving an almost invisible line in the road from surging speeds at over 110 mph. “Racing was drawing in time.” Literally and figuratively.

January 1, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History, italy, Literary, New York City, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author