Archive for the ‘US Midwest’ Category
FALLING TO EARTH is the kind of novel that makes me want to grab the very next person I see and urgently say, â€ťYou MUST read this.â€ť I read this rabidly with increasing awe and respect that Kate Southwood had the chops to create a debut novel with this degree of psychological insight, restrained power, and heartbreaking beauty.
The story centers on a tragedy of unimaginable proportions â€“ a tornado hits the small Illinois town of March in 1925, causing devastation and grievous loss in the homes of every single resident of the town.
March 5, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1920s, Europa Editions, Guilt, Loss, love, Psychological, Real Event Fiction, Revenge, Time Period Fiction, Weather Â· Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Family Matters, Literary, US Midwest
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.
A perfect title for a stunning book. Its literal meaning is explained in the 1919 prologue, when a tree on which two men have been lynched falls deep into a sinkhole with the bodies still on it. The rest of the novel takes place in the present, or perhaps the not too distant future, when the land has been developed as an upscale subdivision for a rapidly growing city in the Midwest. But we are not quite there yet. In a second, slightly longer prologue, a woman goes to visit a convict on death row. It is a creepy, brilliant scene, although we know little of either of them, except that his name is Paul Krovik, and she regards him as a destroyer.
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…
Once, many years ago when I was living in Northern Michigan, Jim Harrison walked into the restaurant where I was dining. He didnâ€™t so much walk in, in retrospect, as lumber in. It was the Blue Bird Cafe and I confess that Iâ€™d been hanging out there in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him.
David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubikâ€™s Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. Heâ€™s like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesnâ€™t.