LET HIM GO by Larry Watson

The simple plotting of Larry Watson’s Let Him Go – the quest of Margaret and George Blackridge to reclaim their young grandson, who lives with his mother and rotten-to-the-core stepfather – belies the strong emotional impact of this exquisitely powerful book.

December 31, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, End-of-Life, Literary, Wild West

THE VISIBLE MAN by Chuck Klosterman

It was more than one hundred years ago that H. G. Wells penned the science fiction classic, The Invisible Man, which subsequently paved new paths in the horror genre. The idea of a mad scientist who makes himself invisible and becomes mentally deranged as a result, is one that has taken root in popular culture ever since.

In his genre-bending new novel, Chuck Klosterman borrows the essential elements from Wells’ classic with some modifications. For one thing, he fixes the science. There has been some discussion that a truly invisible man would have been blind whereas Wells’ lead character, Griffin, clearly was not. So Klosterman’s protagonist, referred to simply as Y_, is not invisible — he is the visible man. But Y_ , much like Griffin, has an ability to make himself invisible to others.

October 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Scifi, Texas

CHILD WONDER by Roy Jacobsen

Navigating that shaky bridge between childhood and adulthood is never easy, particularly in 1961 – a time when “men became boys and housewives women,” a year when Yuri Gargarin is poised to conquer space and when the world is on the cusp of change.

Into this moment of time, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen shines a laser light on young Finn and his mother Gerd, who live in the projects of Oslo. Fate has not been kind to them: Gerd’s husband, a crane operator, divorced her and then died in an accident, leaving the family in a financially precarious position. To make ends meet, she works in a shoe store and runs an ad for a lodger for extra money.

September 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, Family Matters, Norway, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

LIGHTNING PEOPLE by Christopher Bollen

LIGHTNING PEOPLE is an electrifying book, a high voltage tightrope of five 30-something characters that are walking the edge in the post 9/11 New York City. It’s a book about true connections, missed connections and downright parasitic connections. Its energy strikes and surges randomly, briefly illuminating, sometimes plunging back into the darkness. And by the end, it leaves the reader rubbing eyes as he or she emerges back into a transformed light.

September 19, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, New York City

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

ITALIAN SHOES by Henning Mankell

This is a compact sonata of a novel, composed in four “movements.” The title of the last, “Winter Solstice,” might have been a better title for the whole book, set mainly on a small frozen island off the coast of Sweden. It is certainly an appropriate image: the solstice is the darkest part of the year; after it, the days will get longer, but it will still be winter for a long time. This is a book about resurrection, thaw, the slow flowering of the frozen spirit, but it promises few miracles, and even at the end there are setbacks and reversals — a feeling Nordic people must know well in their long wait for Spring.

July 31, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Sweden, Swedish Crime Writer, World Lit, y Award Winning Author