THE DANTE CLUB by Matthew Pearl

You could classify THE DANTE CLUB loosely as historical fiction. Or perhaps, try historical-fantasy-fiction-literary-murder-mystery. It’s definitely a work to be enjoyed by “literary types,” but also by thrill-seekers, detective buffs, psychological and social analysts and in fact anyone who enjoys a good read.

June 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York

DOC by MARY DORIA RUSSELL

DOC relates how it might have been during 1878-79 when Dr. John Henry Holliday lived in Dodge City, Kansas. “The Deadly Dentist” who later gained fame or infamy, depending on perspective, for “pistoleering” along with the surviving Earp brothers at the O.K. Corral, saved Wyatt Earp’s life in Dodge first. Earp is said to have credited Holliday with saving him, but apparently didn’t share details, so history isn’t sure of the facts. But this novel presents its own story of how it might have happened.

May 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, US Frontier West, Wild West

CALEB’S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks

What becomes of those who independently and courageously navigate the intellectual and cultural shoals that divide cultures? Is it truly possible to make those crossings without relinquishing one’s very identity?

Geraldine Brooks poignantly explores these questions in her latest novel, CALEB’S CROSSING. The story is based on sketchy knowledge of the life of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk – the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College — and a member of the Wampanoag tribe in what is now Martha’s Vineyard.

May 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Facing History, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author

LEAVING VAN GOGH by Carol Wallace

Vincent Van Gogh had lived only seventy days in the small community of Auvers-sur-Oise, Northwest of Paris, since arriving in early May. He had been released from an asylum in the South of France and come North to be nearer his brother Theo, who supported him financially. In an astonishing feat of creativity, he dashed off luminous canvases at the rate of one or more per day, until his darkness returned and he went out into a field and shot himself. Carol Wallace’s novel is an account of those seventy days, as told by the person who was the reason for Vincent’s choice of Auvers: Dr. Paul Gachet.

April 19, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, France

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain

Before Ernest Hemingway was ERNEST HEMINGWAY – one of the most revered, studied, analyzed, and parodied authors of American literature – he was a young man with a burning talent, staking his claim to a bright future.

And part of this future included Hadley Richardson, his first wife, a woman who was his equal in many ways – a risk-taker, adventurer, and copious drinker. Paula McLain – in an addictive and mesmerizing debut book – breathes life into their life together in Paris in the 1920s, when everything was just starting to come together.

February 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, France

CHARLES JESSOLD, CONSIDERED AS A MURDERER by Wesley Stace

Wesley Stace’s ample new novel — half murder mystery, half music criticism — opens with a press report on the death of the talented young English composer Charles Jessold in 1923. He appears to have shot himself in his apartment after poisoning his wife and his wife’s lover and watching them die. The murder-suicide has not one but two ironic precedents. It reproduces the story of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, who similarly killed his wife with her lover. It is also the subject of an English folk-ballad, “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave,” which Jessold had taken as the subject for his operatic magnum opus, due to premiere the following night.

February 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, United Kingdom