Archive for the ‘NE & New York’ Category
North of Boston is Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel, and to me it is a real winner. It certainly held my interest and I found that, at times, I was unable to put this books down.
Pirio Kasparov, heir to a very successful perfume business which her Russian immigrant parents founded, is our protagonist. She is a gritty, smart and complex woman. When Pirio’s mother died, the girl was just 10 years old. Her deceased mother’s will stipulates that when Pirio turns 21 years old, she will inherit her mother’s share of the extremely successful business, Inessa Mark, Inc. and that if she wants full ownership, the company would revert to her upon her eccentric father’s death. Pirio has joined the company where she works as “CEO in training.” Scent permeates much of the novel – the scent of perfume, ambergris, herbs, flowers, etc. And the smells of the sea also play an important part in the author’s descriptive passages.
Julia Glassâ€™s latest book strikes right to the core of personal identity. How do we solidify our sense of who we are if we donâ€™t know where we came from? In what ways can we take our place in the universe if our knowledge of our past is incomplete?
Ayelet Waldman’s new book begins in Red Hook, Maine, the setting of her novel RED HOOK ROAD, but the two could hardly be more different. For whereas she had previously confined herself to two families in the same setting over a period of a very few years, she travels in this one to Salzburg, Budapest, and Israel, at various periods over a hundred-year span. By the same token, though, it is a stretch to call Love and Treasure a novel; it is essentially a trilogy of novellas, each with different characters, but linked by a single object and common themes. The object is an enameled Jugendstil pendant in the shape of a peacock. Although only of modest value, it plays an important role in the lives of the people who people who possess it, and provides a focus for the novelist’s enquiry into the lives of Hungarian Jews both before and after the Holocaust.
ALENA is a novel about the art world and the people who inhabit it. It is said to be an homage to du Maurier’s Rebecca. However, not having read Rebecca in no way took anything away from my love of this novel. This novel stands on its own and I loved it.
CARTHAGE is quintessential Oates. It is stylistically similar to many of her other books with the utilization of parentheses, repetitions and italics to make the reader take note of what is important and remind us of what has transpired previously. The book is good but it is not Oates’ best.
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.