SILENCE ONCE BEGUN by Jesse Ball

I have never quite read anything like SILENCE ONCE BEGUN. It’s disturbing, lyrical, original, provocative, and experimental in the best of ways. Yet it stands on the shoulders of giants that came before it: Sartre comes to mind, as does Camus.

The premise is instantly (pardon the pun) arresting. A thread salesman named Oda Sotatsu signs a confession for a crime that has baffled the Japanese authorities – eight older individuals disappear without a trace in what becomes known as the Narito Disappearances. Yet once jailed, he utters barely a word….even though we, the readers, know he is not guilty from the first pages.

January 22, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Literary, Reading Guide, Unique Narrative

AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY by Helen Phillips

Like a fairy tale, way (way) back in the day when you could still be enchanted, and yet they were happy makes you feel giddy and haunted at the same time. I found myself blinking a lot while reading, as if I couldn’t quite believe what my mind was seeing. Slowly, I realized: I believe.

August 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Short Stories, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

C by Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy’s latest novel, C, is a strange book that, without the draw of a gripping plot or the pathos of interesting, well-rounded characters, somehow manages to intrigue all the same. Perhaps the appeal lies in McCarthy’s haunting prose. Or, perhaps it’s the unshakeable feeling that underneath it all – underneath the layered ideas – there’s a message of sorts, a message as profound as it is ephemeral: just as you think you’ve figured it all out, it escapes you. Whatever the reason, C, while far from perfect, is a bizarrely captivating book.

September 26, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Reading Guide, United Kingdom

THE BOOK FROM THE SKY by Robert Kelly

An unremarkable boy named Billy sets out to find the spaceship that landed near the boarding house where he lives with his family in rural Philadelphia. He’s invited on this adventure by Eileen who also lives in the boarding house and is beginning to show signs of womanhood. Young Billy is driven to distraction by her smell, her silhouette, her touch. This part of the novel reads like an epic poem.

August 2, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Speculative (Beyond Reality)

THE SELECTED WORKS OF T. S. SPIVET by Reif Larson

Twelve-year-old Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet—T.S. for short—is as quirky as his name suggests. Extraordinarily gifted, his one way of making sense of the world around him, is to map it all out. So it is that Reif Larsen’s debut,THE SELECTED WORKS OF T.S. SPIVET, has many of these maps and diagrams on the margins—a glimpse into the workings of a gifted mind. Worth mentioning are maps describing the locations of McDonalds in a Midwestern town, the many physical forces acting on a rodeo cowboy and the long list of random names picked by an IBM 1401 for the soda, Tab.

July 5, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Debut Novel

PYGMY by Chuck Palahniuk

Foreign exchange students from an unnamed oppressive socialist regime have arrived in an unnamed midsized Midwestern city to create chaos in America’s virtuous heartland. Armed with years of political indoctrination and martial arts tactics, their mission – Operation Havoc – consists of progressing to the National Science Fair in Washington D.C. where they will commit a massive act of biological terrorism.

June 6, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Contemporary, Humorous, Unique Narrative