Archive for the ‘US Northwest’ Category

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter

After looking up various images of the 1963 movie Cleopatra, the film that critically bombed but was lit up by the scandal of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, I saw a coastline of Italy that looked exactly like the cover of this book. It is a most felicitous cover that captures the mood and time that this novel begins, in 1962. A parochial innkeeper, Pasquali Tursi, lives in a rocky coastline village called Porto Vergogna (Port of Shame), a place the size of a thumb between two mountains, and referred to as “the whore’s crack.”

March 16, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History, italy, Literary, US Northwest, World Lit

THE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin

In this understated and emotionally raw novel of a family born as much from choice as from blood, debut novelist Amanda Coplin explores themes of love, loyalty, courage, compassion, revenge, and honor, as well as the lifelong, traumatic impact of both childhood abuse and loss.

December 22, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, US Northwest

A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY by Russell Banks

I have long been an admirer or Russell Banks’ work. This collection of short stories is excellent and many of them kept me riveted for the duration. The collection consists of twelve stories, most of them about the families we have and the families we make. Others are about the figments of truth that make up our experiences while we decide what is worth believing and what is not. The stories take place in different geographic settings from Florida to upstate New York to Portland, Oregon.

December 19, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Florida, NE & New York, Short Stories, US Northwest

WE LIVE IN WATER by Jess Walter

The world isn’t kind to the characters in Jess Walter’s collection of 13 short stories. Each of them is a loser, living in a “frontier of stale and unfulfilled dreams:” careless fathers, scam artists, ex-cons, gamblers, incestuous brothers, drug abusers.

November 27, 2013 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Short Stories, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author

ED KING by David Guterson

ED KING had me mesmerized from the first page and did not let up throughout the book. It is a contemporary retelling of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex set in the American northwest. The protagonist’s name, Ed King, means Oedipus Rex. Ed is short for Oedipus and Rex means “king” in Greek. Ed’s middle name is Aaron and one could read into this, “Ed, A King.” There is no real subtlety to the retelling. The characters change but the story remains the same. Ed kills his father and marries his mother. It is a Greek tragedy of great proportions and strength, hubris and loss.

November 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author

REAMDE by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE, a play on words for the ReadMe file that accompanies many computer programs, is above all a wild adventure/detective story set in the present day. As one would expect from this author, current technology features prominently. The cast of characters is international, offering windows into such diverse types as Russian gangsters, Chinese hackers, American entrepreneurs, Idaho survivalists and second amendment fanatics among many others.

September 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, China, Scifi, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author