LAMB by Bonnie Nadzam

David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubik’s Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. He’s like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

October 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, US Frontier West, US Midwest

CALLING MR. KING by Ronald De Feo

CALLING MR KING by Ronald De Feo is an exhilarating read. It is poignant, funny, serious and sad. It grabs the reader from the beginning and we go on a short but rich journey with Mr. King, a hit-man, an employee of The Firm, as he transforms himself from a killer to a would-be intellectual and lover of art and architecture.

September 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Humorous, Mystery/Suspense, New York City, Psychological Suspense, World Lit

WE HAD IT SO GOOD by Linda Grant

The sixties generation broke free of the duty-bound rigors of their Depression era parents and the social constraints of materialism, creating a counterculture of hippies dedicated to revolutionary change. As a secular Jewish middle-aged baby boomer, I can well relate to Linda Grant’s portraiture of aging boomers that once embraced the youth and change and idealism of a new and outrageous culture of acid rock music, heady hallucinogens, diversity, and sexual freedoms.

April 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, Family Matters

THE TROUBLED MAN by Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell’s Wallender mystery series has come to an end with THE TROUBLED MAN, the last book in this popular series that was also made into several movies for public television with Kenneth Branaugh playing the part of Wallander. Wallander has turned sixty in this book and he is obsessed with looking back on life and not seeing much for his future except growing old. He dwells on the past a lot. At one point he considers entering a restaurant that he used to patronize, that had a waitress there he liked, but he changes his mind. “He knew why he didn’t go in, of course. He was afraid of finding somebody else behind the counter, and being forced to accept that here too, in that café, time had moved on and that he would never be able to return to what now lay so far away and in the past.”

April 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Sleuths Series, Sweden, World Lit


In A PALACE IN THE OLD VILLAGE Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the elegiac and moving story of a simple man from a small village in Morocco, who feels completely lost in the fast moving, modern world. Mohammed had to change “from one time to another, one life to another” when back in 1962, this young peasant was persuaded to leave his remote village in Morocco and join the immigrant labour force in France. Now forty years later, he is about to start his retirement and this new situation preoccupies and worries him deeply. From one moment to the next, it will end the years of daily routines which have made him feel safe, secure and needed. They have also protected him from reflecting on his life and its challenges : “Everything seemed difficult to him, complicated, and he knew he was not made for conflicts.”

February 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: France, Middle East, World Lit

EDEN by Yael Hedaya

Yael Hedaya was a screenwriter for the acclaimed Israeli TV drama series Betipul (In Treatment), which was adapted for the United States and currently airs on HBO. This background shows in her novel, EDEN, with her attention to the emotions, human interactions and the inner workings of the characters’ minds. Eden’s translator, Jessica Cohen, does a stunning job. The book flows without awkwardness or hesitation.

This is a book about the intertwined lives of the people of Eden – the good, the bad, the indifferent and the morally ambiguous. Until tragedies hit, they go about their lives in a very insular way. Even with tragedy, they are more apt to talk about it than to take action.

November 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Israel, World Lit