A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED by Dara Horn

The idea for writing a modern version of the biblical story of Joseph came apparently from the author’s husband. It is a brilliant one, even more brilliantly executed. First, because she uses it for resonance rather than prediction; you recognize the biblical parallels after they have occurred, but you never know when she is going to depart from the Genesis version, so her novel remains surprising to the end. Second, because the Egyptian setting grounds the book in aspects of Jewish history that are perhaps less well-known, but obviously relevant to the eternal geopolitical situation in the Middle East. And third, because the Torah reference provides the perfect opening to explore many issues in Jewish teaching and philosophy, most notably those concerning divine providence, accident, and free will. The title of her novel, actually, is borrowed from a treatise on these very questions written in Cairo by the twelfth century doctor and philosopher Maimonides. The result, in Horn’s hands, is a richly layered novel that is humane, exciting, informative, and thought-provoking, all at the same time.

February 18, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Family Matters, Literary, Middle East, Speculative (Beyond Reality), Theme driven, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE BIRD SKINNER by Alice Greenway

For any reader who revels in confident, lyrical prose – rich in detail with meticulously chosen words – Alice Greenway’s book will enchant.

The storyline focuses on the elderly and irascible ornithologist Jim Kennoway, who, at the end of his career, retreats to a Maine island after his leg is amputated. There, tortured by past memories and fortified by alcohol and solitude, he eschews the company of others. Yet early on, he receives an unwanted visitor: Cadillac, the daughter of Tosca, who teamed with him as a scout to spy on the Japanese army in the Solomon Islands.

January 31, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, NE & New York

STONE ARABIA by Dana Spiotta

…This nostalgic and affecting story of siblings (and family) is a philosophical meditation on memory and the driven desire for autobiography–to document and render a consequential life, and to assemble disparate experiences into coherent narratives. “And even then,” says Denise, “the backward glance is distorted by the lens of the present…It is not just that emotions distort memory. It is that memory distorts memory.”

September 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters

THE ECHO CHAMBER by Luke Williams

Evie Steppman’s mammoth ears are a repository of history, memory, and time. She was born unnamed to British parents in Lagos, Nigeria, during the end of British colonial rule (1946), and, now in her fifties, she is chronicling her story and the stories of various individuals from a collection of documents, letters, diaries, pamphlets, photographs, and assorted, emotionally powerful objects, or “unica” (one-of-a-kind objects).

August 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Facing History, World Lit

THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES by Marcus Sakey

A man wakes up, shivering and alone on a desolate beach. He has no idea who he is or why he’s there. He and the reader gradually get clues: he’s Daniel Hayes; he lives in Los Angeles; he’s in northern Maine; and the cops want him, but he doesn’t know why. So beings a new mystery from Marcus Sakey, known for the BLADE ITSELF and THE AMATEURS. Determined to confirm his identity and find out why he traveled cross-country in a drunk, drug-induced haze, Hayes re-traces he cross-country journey to Los Angeles.

August 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S. J. Watson

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is a debut novel from British author S.J. Watson, and the book has already made considerable waves in the world of publishing. This is due in part to the fact that film director Ridley Scott bought the movie rights. There’s a big question behind the media blitz: is all the hype justified?

August 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper, Unique Narrative