PALISADES PARK is no roller coaster ride of a novel, rather it is a well written love letter to a “cherished part of the author’s childhood.” (author’s quote). This is a fascinating historical fiction, written with love to a magical place and era long gone.
Itâ€™s rare that I start a book that is such a page-turner that I almost have a panic attack if I have to put it down. LONG DRIVE HOME by Will Allison is just such a book. It starts with a bang and the explosives just continue. Itâ€™s not that the book is a thriller, per se, though there is that element to the novel. It is just that Will Allison is a born story-teller and he gets the reader in his grips from the first paragraph. And he does not let go.
“Tender” and “noble” are two words I have never used to describe a Roth character. In fact, Rothâ€™s usual suspects are razor sharp with a mean streak of self-loathing to befit the most unlikable anti-heroes of the American literary canon. Not to mention, most of his characters are so self-obsessed and entrenched in complicated sexual proclivities that they seldom do the right thing. And much to the chagrin of my feminist friends, Iâ€™m amused, if not seduced, by these delinquent male protagonists, and look forward to their self-deprecating demise each and every time I encounter them.
Which is precisely why my love for Eugene “Bucky” Cantor bemuses me in a way I can’t describe. Cantor, the leading man in Roth’s latest novel NEMESIS, is so decent, so likable in a non-Rothian way, that if you’re a stalwart fan of Alexander Portnoy or David Kepesh, two of the most deliciously depraved characters to ever grace Roth’s fiction, then Bucky Cantor materializes like Mother Theresa. And yet never before have I ached for such a character – identified with such a man whose nobility and innocence would have previously escaped me.
October 16, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1940s, Holocaust, New Jersery, Newark, Philip Roth, Polio, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Facing History, Literary, Man Booker International Prize, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author
Dan Mercerâ€™s life very quickly changes for the worst as TV newswoman Wendy Tynes catches him going to a meeting with a thirteen-year old girl she pretends to be to lore pedophiles like she thinks Dan is into her trap. Dan is vehement in his innocence and as the reader knows, he thought he was going to help a young girl not to have sex with her. However, in this case, despite the evidence against him, Wendy starts to have some doubt, especially when Danâ€™s ex-wife and her husband seem so willing to defend him.
Just like her earlier debut novel REPRODUCTION IS THE FLAW OF LOVE, Lauren Grodstein’s new book, too, is written from the point of view of a morose male protagonist. The hero in A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY is Peter Dizinoff, a doctor living in a very comfortable New Jersey suburb. In the beginning of the novel we find Dizinoff unhappy and separated from his family, but we are not told why. Flipping between flashbacks, we learn that his son Alec, on whom all of his fatherly expectations are laden, has disappointed his father by dropping out of a promising school.
LOOKING AFTER PIGEON transports the reader to the Jersey shore in the mid-seventies, with the precocious five-year old Pigeon as narrator and tour guide. fter their father walks out, their mother, Joan, moves Pigeon and her older siblings Robin and Dove to their uncle Edwardâ€™s house in an un-named New Jersey beach town.