Archive for the ‘Theme driven’ Category

NO WAY OUT by Alan Jacobson

Karen Vail finds herself in a different role and a different country in NO WAY OUT, the fifth book in the series by Alan Jacobson. Karen, an FBI profiler, is sent to England to assist Scotland Yard in a theft of a key document that she finds out may show that Amelia Bassano Lanier, a woman who also happens to have been Jewish and black, actually was the author of all of the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare.

February 6, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Theme driven, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom

FALLEN LAND by Patrick Flanery

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.

January 23, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Theme driven, US Midwest

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd

Fourteen year-old Lily Melissa Owens has been a motherless child for ten years now. It fills her with anguish to think that she, at age four, had a hand in the accidental shooting death of Deborah Fontanel Owens, her own mother. Lily’s life has been shaped around this incident, and she has never ceased to yearn for her mother, (for a mother’s love), although her memories of the actual woman have been blurred by time. In fact, Lily has very little memory of that dark day’s events, and is totally dependent on her miserable, sadistic father, T. Ray Owens, for any and all accounts of her mom. The only person who shows her any affection is Rosaleen, a black peach-picker T. Ray brought in from the fields to care for his child.

January 20, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Theme driven, US South

RENATO THE PAINTER by Eugene Mirabelli

Renato the Painter by Eugene Mirabelli is a fictional memoir about a contemporary painter living in the Boston area. The novel starts when Renato is just days old, a foundling, and continues to the present time, when he is in his 70’s. Renato is a man with a fierce pride in his art, unrepentant sexual appetites and strong personal loyalties. He is very dissatisfied with his status in the art world, feeling that the art world has left him behind. He hasn’t had a gallery show in some time and is getting depressed about his prospects. His family life is complicated.

January 19, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: End-of-Life, IPPY, Literary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author

THE FLAMETHROWERS by Rachel Kushner

There isn’t much plot in this novel, but it is a hell of story/Bildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno, an art studies graduate in 1977 who dared to race her Moto Valera motorcycle at high-speed velocities to create land art. Land art was a “traceless art” created from leaving an almost invisible line in the road from surging speeds at over 110 mph. “Racing was drawing in time.” Literally and figuratively.

January 1, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History, italy, Literary, New York City, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

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