TINKERS by Paul Harding

I can honestly say that I have not read a book so evocative of place and time since reading anything by Faulkner.

May 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Debut Novel, End-of-Life, Literary, NE & New York, Pulitzer Prize, y Award Winning Author

VISITATION by Jenny Erpenbeck

The “Girl,” who ponders these questions, is one of the protagonists in Jenny Erpenbeck’s innovative and powerful novel VISITATION. Memories of innocent excitement and happiness of youth, of arriving, settling down, and then having to leave again and of families and people loved and lost form the core of the story. People and events are centred around a lake-side summer house surrounded by expansive woods and gardens in the region just east of Germany’s capital, Berlin, affording it the role as the central character and integrating force of the narrative. Using her zooming lens, the author condenses many decades of twentieth century German history into time-specific, intricate and intimate glimpses into the lives of twelve different residents and their families living on the property. While the owners build and add to the house, change it and its grounds over time, leaving visible marks and impressions, they are in turn impacted by the environment and the historical events occurring beyond it.

May 2, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Facing History, Germany, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

OPEN CITY by Teju Cole

When Julius, a young psychiatrist living in New York, looks out of his apartment window, he loves to watch the birds fly past. And when he occasionally spots geese flying in formation, he wonders how our life below would look like to them. This same external perspective—which one could argue immigrants master especially well—permeates Teju Cole’s debut novel, OPEN CITY.

February 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, New York City

FRAGILE by Lisa Unger

FRAGILE is set in a small town 100 miles from New York City, called “The Hollows.” The dynamics between family clusters, over the generations within the sometimes stifling small-town boundaries, form the emotional backbone of this well-crafted thriller.

The central group is the Cooper family. With Jones (the father) being the chief detective in the Hollows police force and Maggie (the mother) being a psychologist, they are strategically placed to know what’s going on in town when something out of the ordinary happens. Their son Ricky is a high school student, and the disappearance of his girlfriend Charlene is the signal for the mystery to begin in earnest.

January 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, Reading Guide, Theme driven

SANCTUARY LINE by Jane Urquhart

Consider memory. At any time, a person’s mind potentially holds the sum total of all her experience, though she may not be able to access all of it. She may have forgotten details, until reminded by revisiting a place or picking up a keepsake. There may be memories too hurtful to recall, until the recounting of simpler things clears a pathway to them. There may be things that she cannot understand until the light of maturity suddenly reveals their meaning. Unlike a tale told chronologically, a novel based on memory contains its entire story in outline from the first pages on — although it remains unclear in detail, emotion, and significance until we have lived long enough in the narrator’s mind to explore her past from within. And Jane Urquhart, in the gradual unspooling of memory that is the essence of her latest novel, allows us to inhabit the mind of Liz Crane, her protagonist and narrator, as though it were our own. This is a novel about memory, nostalgic, partial, sometimes painful, but always intriguing.

October 4, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author

MEMORY WALL by Anthony Doerr

Aldous Huxley once famously said, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” In this luminous collection of short stories (including an 83 page novella), Anthony Doerr probes the fragility and endurance of memory, in locales that vary from South Africa to Hamburg…from Lithuania to Wyoming…and from the heinousness of the Holocaust to an immediate dystopian future.

August 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, y Award Winning Author