Robbie and Maize, the principal characters in Ralph Sassoneâ€™s immensely readable debut novel, THE INTIMATES, totally fit the profile of these restless and searching young adults. As the book opens, the two are still in high school; Maize nurses a crush on her guidance counselor and when Robbieâ€™s path crosses hers, it doesnâ€™t immediately amount to much. Robbie is gayâ€”a fact he doesnâ€™t realize until much later in high school.
Incalculable grief cleaves to profound love in this elaborate, helical tapestry of a besieged people in postwar Freetown, Sierra Leone. Interlacing two primary periods of violent upheaval, author Aminatta Forna renders a scarred nation of people with astonishing grace and poise–an unforgettable portrait of open wounds and closed mouths, of broken hearts and fractured spirits, woven into a stunning evocation of recurrence and redemption, loss and tender reconciliation. Forna mines a filament of hope from resigned fatalism, from the devastation of a civil war that claimed 50,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people. Those that survived felt hollowed out, living with an uneasy peace.
February 14, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Friendship, Grief, Identity, Loss, love, Political, Sierra Leone, Violence, War Story Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Africa, Commonwealth Prize, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
RESCUE, by Anita Shreve, focuses on the ways in which parents and children deal with physical and emotional trauma. It is a poignant story about a good man who makes a mistake, but takes full responsibility for his actions.
Every now and then, a novel comes along that is addicting. Nothing else gets done. Dinner gets burned, if it is even made, phones aren’t answered, and appointments are canceled. This is one of those novels. It is seductive, darkly sexual, haunting, and even frightening. You start waiting for the penny to drop, as the pages keep turning and the clues keep mounting. This is one very hypnotic novel.
October 29, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Early Adulthood, Friendship Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Australia, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, New York City, Noir, Reading Guide
Celia Durst and Djuna Pearson are best friends in middle school and have been queens of their clique since elementary school. They have a very tight, mercurial and labile relationship but they usually get over their fights very quickly. One day, as they are acting out by walking in a wooded area where they arenâ€™t supposed to go, Djuna and Celia have a fight. Celia walks away from Djuna and moments later Djuna is abducted by a man in a brown car. Three of the other girls from their clique are there and witness this event. Djuna is never seen or heard from again despite extensive police investigation. Celia can never remember the details of the event until she becomes an adult and then her memory of what actually happened is very different from what allegedly transpired.
In August of 1914, twenty-three year old Michael Clifton had a vision. He stood with his surveyor’s equipment in California “on a hill burnished with gold in the summer sun,” and decided that this oil-rich land would be his. As he prepared to travel back east to rejoin his family, he heard that England and Germany were at war, and he impulsively decided to enlist. Even though Michael was American, his father, Edward, was born in England, and Michael believed that his skills as a cartographer would help the British. Sadly, he never returned home. Michael’s parents hire Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and private inquiry agent, to look into their son’s last days in Jacqueline Winspear’s THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH.