RADIANCE OF TOMORROW by Ishmael Beah

Mama Kadie cautiously enters the central path of her village, not sure what to expect, pondering on what has remained and who is still there or has come back like she does now. After the traumas, losses and devastation of the war she experiences profound emotions as she walks barefoot on the local soil, smells the scents of the land and watches and listens for every sound in the bushes. What will life have in store for her? The opening pages of Ishmael Beah’s debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, are achingly beautiful; his voice gentle and affecting, his deep emotional connection palpable with what he describes so colourfully. Having experienced international acclaim with his memoir, A Long Way Gone, which recounts the story of a child soldier in Sierra Leone, with his new book he returns to his homeland, sharing with his readers the demanding and difficult path that the local people have to follow in their recovery from the brutal war and its many losses in life and livelihood.

February 12, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Reading Guide, World Lit

APPLE TREE YARD by Louise Doughty

Yvonne Carmichael, 52 years old, is a respected geneticist, married for many years with two grown children. She works for an esteemed institute called The Beaufort and is also an external examiner for graduate students. Her life is rich in many ways. Thus, it comes as a surprise to her that when she is scheduled to give a report at the House of Parliaments she notices a man who is giving her a come hither look and she begins to follow him. This begins an extraordinary affair. She doesn’t even know his name or what he does, though after some time she surmises that he is a spy of some type. This first time they have sex, he leads her to the Crypt Chapel on the House of Parliaments grounds and in the rank basement they make love. Yvonne thinks “From my empirical knowledge of you I know one thing and one thing only. Sex with you is like being eaten by a wolf.”

January 14, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Psychological Suspense, Reading Guide

THE THIRD REICH by Roberto Bolano

Bolaño cites this quotation from Goethe (also given in German) towards the end of this early but posthumously discovered novel. It is as good a key as any to what the book may be about. The protagonist, Udo Berger, a German in his mid-twenties, is literally a guest — in a hotel. He is taking a late summer vacation with his girlfriend Ingeborg in a beach hotel on the Costa Brava where he used to come with his family as a child. Together with another German couple, Hanna and Charly, they engage in the usual occupations: swimming, sunbathing, eating, drinking (a lot), and making love. But shadows hang over this idyll.

November 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Germany, World Lit

THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides

“Reader, I married him.”

What sensitive reader hasn’t thrilled to the last lines of the novel JANE EYRE, when the mousy and unprepossessing girl triumphantly returns to windswept Thornfield as a mature woman, marrying her one-time employer and great love, Mr. Rochester?

That era of these great wrenching love stories is now dead and gone. Or is it?

November 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, NE & New York, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

THE SUBMISSION by Amy Waldman

The brilliance of Amy Waldman’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.

October 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, New York City, Reading Guide

THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES by Hector Tobar

From the looks of it you could never tell that the beautiful Torres-Thompson home in fancy Laguna Rancho Estates, is on the cusp of unraveling. But look closely and you can see the edges of the tropical garden coming undone, the lawn not done just right; and these are merely the symptoms of greater troubles. For the couple Scott Torres and Maureen Thompson the country’s financial crisis has come knocking, even in their ritzy Los Angeles neighborhood.

October 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: California, Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Latin American/Caribbean, y Award Winning Author