Archive for the ‘2009 Favorites’ Category
In THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF THE POETS, author Jess Walter has created an everyman character with a twist. Forty-six year old newspaper reporter Matt Prior has been laid off from his job. With his severance package running out, panic has set in. Questionable monetary choices, including most notably, Mattâ€™s unsuccessful launch of the website poetfolio.com, which was to give financial advice in verse, but instead ate up their savings before it launched, and his wife Lisaâ€™s brief e-Bay buying spree and a bit of financial juggling with their mortgage, have left the Priors in a home worth less then what they owe on it; a very topical situation.
December 30, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, Fatherhood, Jess Walter, Job-centered, Life Choices, Married Life Â· Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Humorous, Literary, Satire, United States, y Award Winning Author
INVISIBLE is my first Auster novel. Itâ€™s odd that I never got around to reading him before, but his name came up a few months ago–in praiseworthy terms–from someone whose literary opinions I respect, and so when Austerâ€™s latest book appeared, it didnâ€™t take much to convince me to grab a copy. While the novel is ostensibly the story of what happens to a promising young student named Adam Walker, Austerâ€™s cleverly-constructed tale examines much larger issues, such as the impenetrable nature of truth, the long-lasting affects of grief, the savage tentacles of colonialism and fascism, and the passivity and futility of “good” in the presence of determined evil.
In Laura Moriarty’s WHILE I’M FALLING, after twenty-six years of marriage, Veronica Von Holten’s parents, Dan and Natalie, are getting a divorce. Although she is a twenty-year old pre-med student, when Veronica hears the news, she reverts to acting like the little girl she once was. She morosely observes: “My parents were married when Reagan was president, when the first Bush was president, when Clinton was president, and then the second Bush as well. They had planned vacations, funerals, and my sister’s wedding, together.” Why must they split up now after having stayed together for so long?
â€śIrresponsible, spoiled and bourgeois.â€ť One of the characters in THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE, Orhan Pamukâ€™s new novel, uses these labels to describe a segment of Istanbulâ€™s young adults. These same descriptors could specifically apply to 30-year-old Kemal, the novelâ€™s protagonist. Kemal, part of Istanbulâ€™s upper class, spends his time managing a portion of the family business. He has the privilege of an education in America and as the novel opens, is about to be engaged to Sibel, the daughter of another wealthy family in the city. Itâ€™s slated to be a marriage between equals.
December 14, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1970s, 1980s, Arabic World, Istanbul, Life Choices, Museum, orhan pamuk Â· Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
Sue Grafton’s U IS FOR UNDERTOW takes place in 1988, with key flashbacks to 1967, the so-called “Summer of Love.” Kinsey Millhone, who is thirty-seven, is the veteran of two failed marriages and has no desire to take the plunge again. Most of her time is devoted to her work as a private investigator, and she occasionally socializes with a small group of friends, including her eighty-eight year old landlord, Henry Pitts. Henry is Kinsey’s confidante and surrogate grandfather.
Two young people caught in a mundane existence are at the heart of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates. April and Frank Wheeler, formerly lively Greenwich Village singles, have become an ordinary suburban Connecticut married couple. The book is just as poignant now as it was when it was first published in 1961. Named one of Timeâ€™s top one hundred novels of the 20th century, it was re-released in time for the December 2008 movie version.