PALISADES PARK by Alan Brennert

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.

January 25, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, NE & New York

LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson’s first novel, SCENES AT THE MUSEUM, began with two words: “I exist!” This one says, “I exist! I exist again! And again!” LIFE AFTER LIFE is a marvel. It’s one of the most inventive novels I’ve ever read, rich with details, beautifully crafted, and filled with metaphysical questions about the nature of time, reality, and the ability of one person to make a dramatic difference based on one small twist of fate. In short, it’s amazing.

January 8, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, 2013 Man Booker Shortlist, Alternate History, Costa Award (Whitbread), Facing History, Literary, Reading Guide, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

ABOVE ALL THINGS by Tanis Rideout

Above All Things is the story of George Mallory’s third and final attempt to conquer Mount Everest. I am no mountain climber but those who climb and “conquer” mountains have always fascinated me as does the process these mountaineers undergo to make a successful climb. Years ago I read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, and then Simon Mawer’s The Fall and I was hooked. To me, Everest has always been the “Big One.” Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, its peak rising more than 29,000 feet. Back in the early 20th century it was a mountain that had defeated and/or killed all who attempted to scale her. Mallory and his team had made two attempts and failed. Unfortunately, today more than 3,500 people have successfully climbed the 29,029 ft. mountain and more than a tenth of that number scaled the peak just over the past year. On one day alone in 2012, 234 climbers reached the peak, (a bit crowded)….leaving their “junk” all over the mountain….

January 6, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, India-Pakistan, Literary, Reading Guide, World Lit

THE FLAMETHROWERS by Rachel Kushner

There isn’t much plot in this novel, but it is a hell of story/Bildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno, an art studies graduate in 1977 who dared to race her Moto Valera motorcycle at high-speed velocities to create land art. Land art was a “traceless art” created from leaving an almost invisible line in the road from surging speeds at over 110 mph. “Racing was drawing in time.” Literally and figuratively.

January 1, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History, italy, Literary, New York City, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson

On December 21, 1988, almost exactly twenty-five years ago as I write, Pan American flight 103 from London to New York was brought down by a bomb and crashed over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven more on the ground. Although others may have been implicated, only one man was convicted of planting the bomb, a Libyan national who was released several years later on compassionate grounds; he died of prostrate cancer in 2012. His death may well have been the trigger for Scottish author James Robertson’s imaginative and morally profound novel; it is certainly the event with which it opens.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE SON by Philipp Meyer

There is nothing small about the state of Texas nor is there anything small about this epic masterpiece of a novel, which will surely catapult Philipp Meyer into the ranks of the finest American novelists.

What he has accomplished is sheer magic: he has turned the American dream on its ear and revealed it for what it really is: “soil to sand, fertile to barren, fruit to thorns.” The most astounding thing is, you don’t know how good it really is until you close the last page and step back and absorb what you have just experienced.

December 23, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Facing History, Texas, US Frontier West, Wild West