FALL by Colin McAdam

I’d seen FALL described as a “literary whodunit,” and was looking forward to some good sleuthing. It’s not quite like that. Mystery is involved, but plot and intrigue are entirely secondary to the study of adolescent development.

The two main narrative voices are Noel and Julius, both students at St Edbury’s – a Canadian high school for the children of the wealthy. Julius’s narration is an unpunctuated stream of consciousness, immediate and sensory. He’s good-looking, not overly bright and (as the story progresses) increasingly shown to be good-natured.

December 13, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Canada, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

THE SHADOWS IN THE STREET by Susan Hill

Susan Hill’s THE SHADOWS IN THE STREET is her fifth Simon Serrallier mystery. Hill continues to engage us with fresh characters and intriguing story lines. Simon does not even appear in the early chapters, since he is vacationing on a remote Scottish island, “where people did not hurry and there was little noise other than the sounds of nature.” Back in Lafferton, Simon’s twin sister, Dr. Cat Deerborn, is worried about her oldest child, Sam, who is upset but stubbornly uncommunicative, “an oyster, closed up tight.” The most compelling aspect of this novel is its frank depiction of young women who walk the streets trying to earn quick money.

September 3, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

THE GOOD PSYCHOLOGIST by Noam Shpancer

Noam Shpancer has written a heady and unique novel that takes its primary form as therapy sessions between a psychologist and a stripper. The psychologist has a limited clinical schedule in his anxiety clinic and teaches a university class to augment his income. He also plays weekly basketball with a group of guys that he barely knows. He’s been involved in a love affair with another psychologist, Nina, and they have a child together. This relationship is ebbing.

August 3, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel

THE QUICKENING MAZE by Adam Foulds

Somewhere toward the end of this inventive and imaginative novel, peasant nature poet John Clare muses about “the maze of a life with no way out, paths taken, places been.”

In reality — and much of this book IS based on reality — each of the characters within these pages will enter into a maze — figuratively, through the twists and turns of diseased minds, and literally, through the winding paths of the nearby forest. Some will escape unscathed and others will never emerge. But all will be altered.

June 28, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, Man Booker Nominee, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

TRY TO REMEMBER by Iris Gomez

As TRY TO REMEMBER begins in 1968, Gabriella is fifteen years old, living with her father, mother and two younger brothers near Miami, Florida. They have come to the United States from Colombia and though her parents both hold green cards, Gabi is afraid that they will all have their cards confiscated and be sent back to their village in Colombia. Gabi’s fears stem mostly from the fact that her father behaves erratically and her brothers get into trouble in school.

May 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Florida, Latin American/Caribbean

THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS by Paolo Giordano

THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS is written by Paolo Giordano, an Italian physicist who is also the youngest winner of the Premio Strega, a prestigious literary award. Currently he is working on a doctorate in particle physics and resides in Italy. It is not every day that a physicist writes a beautiful and stirring novel such as this one.

March 18, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, italy, y Award Winning Author