Archive for the ‘US Mid-Atlantic’ Category
Laura Lippman knows how to write about terror, both the subtle, covert, shadow type and the more acute, stomach-wrenching, in-your-face type. This is a book about acts of terror, specifically kidnapping and rape. It is primarily about the kidnapping and rape of 13 year-old Elizabeth Lerner in 1985 and the 39 days she spent at the hands of her kidnapper and rapist, William Bowman, a serial killer.
The first person narrator of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife is thirty-five year old Sarah Price, who has been married to Nathan Bennett, a fiction writer, for four years. They are the doting parents of an incredibly precocious three-year-old girl, Mattie, and a baby boy. Sarah, who was once a promising poet, is now a busy mother who has a full-time job as a business manager for the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University. She is perpetually worn-out, but considers herself to be relatively fulfilled. One day, Nathan throws a monkey-wrench into their relationship when he confesses that his new book, Infidelity, is not completely fictional. Nathan morosely admits, “I cheated on you.”
Dan Mercerâ€™s life very quickly changes for the worst as TV newswoman Wendy Tynes catches him going to a meeting with a thirteen-year old girl she pretends to be to lore pedophiles like she thinks Dan is into her trap. Dan is vehement in his innocence and as the reader knows, he thought he was going to help a young girl not to have sex with her. However, in this case, despite the evidence against him, Wendy starts to have some doubt, especially when Danâ€™s ex-wife and her husband seem so willing to defend him.
Just like her earlier debut novel REPRODUCTION IS THE FLAW OF LOVE, Lauren Grodstein’s new book, too, is written from the point of view of a morose male protagonist. The hero in A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY is Peter Dizinoff, a doctor living in a very comfortable New Jersey suburb. In the beginning of the novel we find Dizinoff unhappy and separated from his family, but we are not told why. Flipping between flashbacks, we learn that his son Alec, on whom all of his fatherly expectations are laden, has disappointed his father by dropping out of a promising school.
Reading an Anne Tyler novel is like listening to a gentle friend tell you a story, a friend you trust, someone who practices yoga or meditates and is unflappable as a result. This friend has a knack for knowing people, but isnâ€™t a know-it-all. And most of all she has a sense of caring, and exhibits compassion toward the people in her stories. She is a good friend, indeed. And a wonderful story teller.
Earlier this summer I went to a book reading here in Maine where I live. The author, Jessica Anthony was local, and that always brings in a nice crowd. We have a lot of good writers in Maine. Of course there is Stephen King, up in Bangor, whom everyone knows; and thereâ€™s Phil Hoose, who just recently won the National Book Award. But there are a lot of writers around here who arenâ€™t as well known, and many of them are very talented. I had not heard of Ms. Anthony, but I was obviously in the minority, for she seemed a favorite of the crowd the evening of her reading–and it was a crowd. Chris, the owner of the bookstore, introduced her, calling her brilliant and her book brilliant too. But Chris says this about a lot of the writers he introduces. They are either brilliant, or if not brilliant, their book canâ€™t be put down. Sometimes itâ€™s one or the other. Tonight, it was both–and the book was brilliant too, as I said. Ms. Anthony approached the podium and said hello to her many friends in the audience, talked briefly about the book, and began to read from her book THE CONVALESCENT.
December 12, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: Magical Realism, Myth, Virginia Â· Posted in: Amanda Davis, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, Speculative (Beyond Reality), US Mid-Atlantic, y Award Winning Author