I loved THREE JUNES by Julia Glass and her newest novel, THE WIDOWER’S TALE, has much the same wonderful flavor about it. This languid story of a family dealing with their relationships with one another and the instrusions of the outside world delights the senses. The central character is Percival Darling, widowed for the last thirty-two years, and a somewhat crusty, cynical and reclusive personality.
There are many reasons we read: for enlightenment, escape, education, and in some rare instances, to confront ourselves with truths and insights we never would have encountered otherwise.
BRODECK is one of those rare instances. It is, quite simply, one of the best contemporary books I have ever read. And I have read a lot.
Sophie Hannah’s THE DEAD LIE DOWN is a multi-faceted psychological thriller about guilt, revenge, self-destruction, and redemption. All of the major characters have something to hide and they reveal their secrets reluctantly. Aiden Seed, who frames pictures for a living, has decided that he and the woman he loves, Ruth Bussey, should be open with one another before they become intimate. Ruth hesitantly admits that she did something shameful and was punished excessively for her actions. Aiden is sympathetic, saying, “The worst things stow away in the hold, follow you wherever you go.” It is then his turn to confess: “Years ago, I killed someone.” “Her name was Mary. Mary Trelease.”
THE LAST SECRET is powerful and unflinching. It builds up slowly but the tension and angst keep coming. The characters are disgruntled, desperate, despairing, fragile, with huge currents roiling through their being as they try to keep their inner and outer storms at bay. Some characters are loathsome, despicable and pathetic. These are juxtaposed with others who try to stay strong, keep one foot in front of the other, and maintain independence at all costs. What Ms. Morris is so excellent at portraying is that while people try to fool themselves into believing that they have certain attributes better, worse, or more unique than others, most people are actually quite alike in that they harbor these components: the good, the bad and the evil.
Michelle Hunevenâ€™s new novel, BLAME, has one of the best prologues to come along in a long time. Here, we are introduced to Joey Hawthorne, a preteen struggling with the impending death of her mother to breast cancer. One day tall, handsome uncle Brice shows up to pick her up from summer typing lessons and she immediately suspects something is wrongâ€”her mother will die shortly thereafter. Through Brice, Joey is introduced to his temperamental girlfriend, Patsy MacLemoore.