Archive for the ‘US South’ Category

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell is a small book but reads like a tome, with such literate and beautiful imagery that I was enthralled. The book centers around the mystery of the explosion at Arbor Dance Hall in 1929. The explosion killed 42 people, many unrecognizable in death with their bodies broken up or burned beyond recognition. Alma Dunahew lost her sister Ruby in the explosion and for years has been trying to discover the answer to what happened. Those years have been hard on her with several of them spent at the Work Farm in West Table, Missouri, due to her psychic breakdown caused by rage and grief …

December 21, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Noir, US South

COUNTRY HARDBALL by Steve Weddle

“I was locked up for a while. Full of the empty darkness, if that makes sense to you. The sort of nothing that fills up everything. Spent the whole time running down the “what if” crap to fill up my soul. What if I hadn’t dropped then? What if they’d buckled up? What if this and that? You can go crazy with that. And maybe I did. And maybe when I got out and was all of a sudden an adult and alone, yeah, maybe I did some things I shouldn’t have. And maybe those were my fault. But that’s the old me. That’s not who I am now.”

December 21, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Noir, US South

FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver is one of those rare writers with whom you know what you are getting before you open the first page.

You know, for example, that the prose is going to be literary, dense, and luscious (take this descriptive line: Summer’s heat had never really arrived, nor the cold in turn, and everything living now seemed to yearn for sun with the anguish of the unloved.”) You know that the content will focus on some kind of social justice, biodiversity, or environmental issue. You know, too, that at some point, Ms. Kingsolver will cross the line into authorial intrusion based on her passion for the subject she is writing on.

But you keep coming back for more. At least, I do. There is something mesmerizing about a Barbara Kingsolver novel, and something refreshing about a writer who combines a solid scientific background with stunning prose.

December 14, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Reading Guide, Theme driven, US South

THE OUTLAW ALBUM by Daniel Woodrell

Daniel Woodrell is widely known for the movie adaptation of his novel, Winter’s Bone, which won the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Picture Prize in 2010. He has just published his first book of short stories, THE OUTLAW ALBUM, a collection of twelve dark and riveting stories.

November 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, US South

THE AFFAIR by Lee Child

What’s a writer to do when his action hero ages? One option is to go back in time.

In THE AFFAIR, Lee Child flashes back to 1997, when Major Jack Reacher (his thirty-six year old protagonist and first-person narrator) was an army MP. Leon Garber, Reacher’s commanding officer, sends Jack to Carter Crossing, Mississippi, to monitor a potentially explosive situation.

October 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US South

MAKEDA by Randall Robinson

MAKEDA is the title character of Randall Robinson’s astounding, thought provoking, and highly engaging novel. A blind retired “laundress,” Makeda’s life is anchored in her tiny, often sun-filled, parlour in Richmond, Virginia. Her modest circumstances, after a life of hardship, stand in stark contrast to her appearance and demeanor: at home, at church and in the market, she is usually clad in richly embroidered beautiful African gowns and she radiates wisdom and emotional strength, instilling respect wherever she goes. Some unknown visitors leave gifts for her, or speak to her as if she were somebody else…

September 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Family Matters, Literary, US South