The brilliance of Amy Waldmanâ€™s book is that she does not try to apply logic to why 9/11 occurred, nor does she attempt to recreate the complex and traumatic emotions that most Americans felt that day. Instead, she explores something broader: the fallout of a country confused, divided, and sick with fear, clamoring to make sense of the insensible.
LIGHTNING PEOPLE is an electrifying book, a high voltage tightrope of five 30-something characters that are walking the edge in the post 9/11 New York City. Itâ€™s a book about true connections, missed connections and downright parasitic connections. Its energy strikes and surges randomly, briefly illuminating, sometimes plunging back into the darkness. And by the end, it leaves the reader rubbing eyes as he or she emerges back into a transformed light.
September 19, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, Life's Moments, Post 9/11, Soft Skull Press Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, New York City
I have chosen this rather longer quotation to show how Madison Smartt Bell can turn on a dime between a realistic description of a California druggie cult in the late sixties to an evocation of the revels of Dionysian maenads from the earliest age of Greek mythology. The link here is an acid trip, but Bell does not need chemicals to effect his alchemy. In 2001, when the book opens, the narrator Mae is a middle-aged croupier in a Las Vegas area casino. Bell’s description is realistic and immediate: “Only the whirl of lights and the electronic burbling of machines, rattle of dice in the craps table cups, and almost inaudible whisper of cards, the friction-free hum of roulette wheels turning.” But two sentences later, he has already made the shift: “It was a sort of fifth-rate hell, and I a minor demon posted to it. A succubus too indifferent to suck.”
April 6, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1960s, 21st-Century, Madison Smartt Bell, Nevada, Post 9/11, Violence Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Contemporary, New York City, US Southwest, y Award Winning Author
I have been a fan of Sue Miller since her first novel, THE GOOD MOTHER. Her newest novel, THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED, is original and transformative. It is a novel within novels, a story of a play that tells the story of this novel alongside the main narratives of the characters as they unfold.
The novel is told from the vantage points of four characters: Billy, Rafe, Leslie, and Sam. Each of them is connected by at least one degree of separation from each other. Billy is a playwright who has written a play about a terrorist bombing of a railroad. In real life, she has lost her lover, Gus, to the tragedies of 9/11. As we read this book, we are gradually allowed to see how much of her play is truly about her as well as her many personal aspects of self. Like all of us, Billy uses “masks” to protect her privacy. Her work as a playwright gives her additional means and artistic license within which to conceal or expose herself.
Itâ€™s been four years since one of the countryâ€™s deadliest natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina, hit New Orleans, yet the stories of those affected have been making their way out only slowly. Dave Eggersâ€™ ZEITOUN is one such. Here too, as in his brilliant WHAT IS THE WHAT, Eggers does an expert job narrating non-fiction and making the story come alive.
Post 9-11 books