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

THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ by Anne Enright

Anne Enright, author of the 2007 Booker Prize winner, THE GATHERING, has written a new novel called THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ. It is told from the point of view of Gina Moynihan who has a lust-filled affair with a married man, Sean Vallely. They first meet at a garden party hosted by Anne’s sister Fiona, and progresses from there. At first there are innocent (and not so innocent) looks, and then on a business trip in Switzerland, the affair begins in earnest.

October 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Ireland, Literary, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE INVERTED FOREST by John Dalton

The dictionary defines “inverted” as reversed, upturned, and this aptly describes the goings on, again and again in John Dalton’s latest novel, The Inverted Forest, an impressive follow-up to his award winning debut, HEAVEN LAKE. That the two stories are quite diverse in setting and subject serves the reader well, as HEAVEN LAKE, set in Taiwan and China, was one of those wondrous, luminous novels difficult to surpass. THE INVERTED FOREST takes place in 1996 in a rural Missouri summer camp, a sun-dappled, bucolic environment that still manages to impart a sense of subliminal unease.

September 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary

MY AMERICAN UNHAPPINESS by Dean Bakopoulos

One of Zeke Pappas’s biggest heroes is Joseph Cornell, an artist who created “assemblages”—most of Cornell’s work were glass-fronted boxes filled with a stunning variety of found objects. Zeke loves Cornell because he “devoted his life to the collecting the unhappy scraps left behind by others and trying to distill them and make sense of them. Cornell’s work to me is about our abandonment of joy, about our reckless inability to hold on to something meaningful. This is an attempt to find meaning—no, to find magic—in our collective dross, in the castoff and the forgotten,” Zeke says during one of his annual visits to the Cornell boxes collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

June 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Midwest

SMALL KINGDOMS by Anastasia Hobbet

In the period right after the first Gulf War, an uneasiness hung all over Kuwait—its residents forever waiting for Saddam Hussein to strike again. As an American expat in the country for five years around that same time period, author Anastasia Hobbet witnessed this unease first hand. It forms a perfect backdrop for her novel, Small Kingdoms, which tells the story of an assorted set of Kuwaiti and American characters.

January 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Middle East, World Lit

SMALL KINGDOMS by Anastasia Hobbet

Anastasia Hobbet’s novel about life in Kuwait between Saddam’s invasion of that country and the American invasion of Iraq is both gorgeous in its prose and compelling in its varied perspectives. Kuwait here is a real country, not a geographical footnote to a war, populated by people, both Kuwaiti and not, who navigate the difficult terrain of fear, loyalty, and social conventions. The story follows its characters to the brink of the second war where they, like the country they inhabit, face the changes ahead.

March 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Middle East, World Lit