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 Anneâ€™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.
This is a beautiful book. If you want to read something that has the same effect as gazing at a vast and perfect ink-wash painting, calming and yet utterly absorbing, reach for this. Like the tiniest haze of seeping ink will be skillful enough to convey a distant village nestling in the hills, or the flight of a crane; there is not a word misplaced in this small and lovely work. Its theme is poetry, and indeed the exquisite style does full justice to the subject.
Many people think of Alaska as wildness with great open spaces in a mountainous wildernous with sub-arctic cold, dark and long winters, ever-light summers, bears and moose. This is not the Alaska of David Vann. His Alaska consists of what sounds like an area most likely the Tongass National Rain Forest. This is the northernmost rainforest on earth, and it extends into southeast Alaska. Trees here are huge but grow close together here much like in the Amazon. It rains up to 400 inches a year in this part of Alaska and the days are often dark and dismal with damp that cuts right through you. There is no vista in this forest; all you have are the trees that hem you in.
Cynthia Ozick, author of THE SHAWL and TRUST, two of my favorite books, has written a gem of a novel in FOREIGN BODIES. A slithering and taut comedy of errors, this book examines issues of betrayal and trust, literal and emotional exile, regret and rage, Judaism in post-World War II Europe and the meaning of art in one’s life. While based on themes similar to Henry James’ THE AMBASSADORS, this novel is distinctly and uniquely Ozick’s.
This is a short but pungent tale about crime, betrayal, passion, love, and a scar–both real and psychic. How juicy is that? Especially when you blend in the CĂ´tes du RhĂ´ne-Villages wine made from the dark-skinned Syrah, MourvĂ¨dre, and Cisault grapes. Throw in a pivotal love affair, a chateau, a virulent father, and an odious priest, and you have the crushing, pressing, and fermenting ingredients of a serious page-turner. The title refers to the legacy of the protagonist–the chateau, estate, and wine cellar he is set to inherit.
Darren Bennett likes to draw. This hobby makes him insecure 1) because heâ€™s a sophomore in high school and heâ€™s insecure about everything, and 2) because he knows that whatever he draws will result in a false label: â€śIf youâ€™re drawing the female figure, youâ€™re a pervert. If youâ€™re drawing the male figure, youâ€™re gay. If youâ€™re drawing superheroes and havenâ€™t gotten around to drawing the masks or capes or whatever yet, youâ€™re gay.â€ť Nevertheless, it provides a fantastical escape from his increasing isolationism in an unremarkable Arizona suburb where he lives with his good-natured but neglectful father and complete hooligan of a brother, an arrangement that resulted when his â€śmom kind of went haywire.â€ť When fellow outcast Eric Lederer compliments one of Darrenâ€™s drawings after class, a friendship forms that leads to â€śthe biggest mistake of [his] lifeâ€ť and perhaps the worst false label of all. From a perfectly executed prologue to a thrilling sci-fi finish, DC Piersonâ€™s debut novel will undoubtedly captivate readers and remind them of the limitless potential of the coming-of-age novel.
February 6, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· 2 Comments
Tags: Arizona, Betrayal, Friendship Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Humorous, Literary, Speculative (Beyond Reality), US Southwest