Archive for the ‘Contemporary’ Category
John Taylor does not fit the stereotype of a polygamist. Although he is handsome, charming, and charismatic, he is not selfish and arrogant, nor does he seem obviously abnormal or deviant. On the contrary, Taylor is a doctor who uses his impressive skills to perform reconstructive surgery on children who have facial deformities. His partners are unhappy that Taylor insists on doing pro bono work, since the big money is in cosmetic procedures for the affluent. Still, Taylor is a complex individual who, for reasons of his own, married three women who live in Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Los Angeles; he somehow managed to juggle his myriad professional and personal responsibilities. It is only after Taylor dies in his hotel room of an apparent heart attack that his trio of wives become fodder for the tabloids.
GEMINI is an intensely absorbing novel which I found difficult to put down. It is a very human tale which delves deeply into subjects like love in its many shapes and forms, and time – too little time, not enough time, counting time, too late. The author, Carol Cassella, uses time to move her storyline back and forth in years, seamlessly weaving together the characters and the events which impact them.
â€śYou canâ€™t stand against a flood, Annie Clyde.â€ť Oh, yes she can. Or at least die trying. A descendant of the native Cherokees, Annie Clyde Dodson has deep-rooted connections to the land of Yuneetah, Tennessee. Long Man, the river that courses through, is tempestuous and moody but the farmers here have learned to corral its powers to make their living off the land. The Tennessee Valley Authority though, has other plans. A dam has been built upstream and in a matter of a few days, Yuneetah will be under water. Annie Clyde is one of the last holdouts. She just canâ€™t up and leave the land which she wanted her daughter, Gracie, to know and love. And as much as her husband has plans to find factory work up north in Michigan, Annie canâ€™t stomach the thought of a stark existence away from the natural surroundings she loves.
February 25, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Amy Greene, Dam, Flood, Knopf, Nature, Real Event Fiction, Tennessee Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South
The eponymous title of this penetrating and artful novel refers to third-grade schoolteacher and unfulfilled artist Nora Eldridge, who has lived in the Boston area her whole life. It is also the book’s principal motif, surfacing periodically to describe Nora’s various attributes as an uncharacteristically plain woman, a woman who doesn’t rock any boats or shine like a supernova– one who is always nice, mannerly, and unthreatening to others. Essentially, anonymous and invisible. Nora has previously accepted this about herself, living up to the part with emblematic virtuosity.
The most absorbing books I read have a vital lesson at their core: they teach me what it means to be human. Karen Joy Fowlerâ€™s latest book tackles this crucial theme and by doing so, captured my heart and reduced me to tears.
There is no getting around that this is an agenda book. Ms. Fowlerâ€™s purpose is to show usâ€”through fictionâ€”that the most complicated animal â€“ the human animal can be disastrous to the rest of the animal kingdom through sheer arrogance.
Typically, I avoid authorial intrusion like the plague. But this book was so irresistibly readable, so original, and so psychologically nuanced that I couldnâ€™t help but turn the pages compulsively.
This is Kathy Hepinstall’s fourth novel… and I’ve read all four, so obviously I like this author. She writes a different book each time and thus one never knows what will be found upon picking up her latest, although one can be sure it will be both literary and lyrical, no matter the tone and subject.
BLUE ASYLUM takes place during the Civil War years on Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida.
February 9, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Florida, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, lyrical, Mental Health/Illness, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Facing History, Literary, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South