For fifty years, John Updike served as our peephole into the sordid affairs of middle-class American suburbia, particularly the angst that, according to him, plagues men at all stages of life. Admirers mourned his loss, wondering who could now possibly serve as our literary guide through terrain that has already been mastered. Author Robert Cohen appears to be rising to the occasion, at least with his newest, bitingly witty novel AMATEUR BARBARIANS.
Fifty-five year old Jack Griffin has been in a funk for a very long time. The only child of dysfunctional and embittered college professors, he proudly asserts that he aggressively rejected his mother and father’s warped values, their snobbery, their refusal to compromise, and their chronic dissatisfaction. In Richard Russo’s bittersweet THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC, Griffin discovers, much to his chagrin, that he has inherited his parents’ negativity and selfishness.
August 5, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Knopf, Life Choices, Married Life, Mid-Life Crisis, Richard Russo, Seaside Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author
HOMICIDE MY OWN introduced menopausal Spokane detective Quinn, and the second novel, WALLA WALLA SUITE finds Quinn divorced and working as a PI in Seattle. Quinn is an engaging protagonist; intelligent, cynical and tough, she scrapes a living while thinking about rebuilding her personal life. In KRAPPâ€™S LAST CASSETTE, Quinn is hired by a wealthy Hollywood screenwriter, Alex Krapp. It seems that Krapp has written a screenplay for HBO based on the best-selling memoir of a fifteen-year-old kid named Danny.
ADMISSION is a novel that examines the complex process of selecting incoming freshmen for Princeton University from a large pool of eager and often superbly qualified applicants. Jean Hanff Korelitz draws on her experience as an “outside reader” for Princeton to add verisimilitude to her story. She also spoke with deans of admissions and college counselors to gain a broad perspective on what has become, for many, a harrowing and competitive race to the finish line.
With his 15th novel, THE TURNAROUND, George Pelecanos has written another powerful story that permits him to expound on the themes and issues his writing has centered on: the possibility of reconciliation, the meaning of work, the issues of race and class, the importance of family and friendship, and sacrifice.
May 8, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Crime, George Pelecanos, Mid-Life Crisis Â· Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, Reading Guide, Washington, D.C.
Julian Donahue, the protagonist in the wonderful THE SONG IS YOU, is a middle-aged drifter. He directs commercials for a living and has separated from his wife after the loss of their two-year-old son. Worse, he is at a point in his life where he is clearly able to see the trajectory pretty much every action of his will traceâ€”in other words, he sees the pointlessness of it all and is in a funk. The only thing that keeps him connected and interested, is musicâ€”more specifically, his iPodâ€”which reminds him of all the significant moments in his life.