LEVELS OF LIFE by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes’ memoir of grief for the death of his wife Pat Kavanagh in 2008 after a thirty-year relationship, must be one of the most moving tributes ever paid to a loved one, but also the most oblique. So let’s start with something simple, a photograph. Look up the title in the Daily Mail of London, partly for the marvelously-titled review “Lifted by Love, Grounded by Grief” by Craig Brown, but mostly for the photograph that accompanies it. Julian is seated. Pat stands behind him, her arms around his shoulders, her chin resting on the crown of his head. Her love is obvious, she whom Barnes refers to as “The heart of my life; the life of my heart.” But equally striking is the unusual vertical composition. Pat, who on the ground was a small woman beside the gangling Barnes, here appears above him, like a guardian angel reaching down.

February 10, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson

On December 21, 1988, almost exactly twenty-five years ago as I write, Pan American flight 103 from London to New York was brought down by a bomb and crashed over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven more on the ground. Although others may have been implicated, only one man was convicted of planting the bomb, a Libyan national who was released several years later on compassionate grounds; he died of prostrate cancer in 2012. His death may well have been the trigger for Scottish author James Robertson’s imaginative and morally profound novel; it is certainly the event with which it opens.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Thriller/Spy/Caper

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

I MARRIED YOU FOR HAPPINESS by Lily Tuck

Lily Tuck`s novel, I MARRIED YOU FOR HAPPINESS, is the story of a woman mourning the sudden death of her husband. It was shortly before dinner when Philip came home from his college teaching position. When Nina calls him for dinner he is dead. She lies by his cold body all night remembering their lives together. The prose is spare and lovely, recalling their joys, passions and pains of their forty-two years together.

September 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME by Gail Caldwell

LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME is, at its core, a love story. It’s a story of how a close connection with a friend can ground us and provide us with a life worth living. And it’s a story that any woman who has ever had a friend who is like a sister – I count myself among those fortunate women – will understand in a heartbeat.

August 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
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THE WINTER GHOSTS by Kate Mosse

Mosse gives her beguiling novel an old fashioned gothic framework that suits this eerie story of ghostly love in an insular mountain village of France a decade after WWI. The story opens in 1933 as Frederick Watson visits an antiquarian bookseller in Toulouse. “He walked like a man recently returned to the world. Every step was careful, deliberate. Every step to be relished.” Well-dressed and confident, Watson knows his appearance contrasts sharply with his last visit to Toulouse in 1928 at age 25. “He had been another man then, a tattered man, worn threadbare by grief.”

July 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Facing History, France, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense