FALLEN LAND by Patrick Flanery

A perfect title for a stunning book. Its literal meaning is explained in the 1919 prologue, when a tree on which two men have been lynched falls deep into a sinkhole with the bodies still on it. The rest of the novel takes place in the present, or perhaps the not too distant future, when the land has been developed as an upscale subdivision for a rapidly growing city in the Midwest. But we are not quite there yet. In a second, slightly longer prologue, a woman goes to visit a convict on death row. It is a creepy, brilliant scene, although we know little of either of them, except that his name is Paul Krovik, and she regards him as a destroyer.

January 23, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Theme driven, US Midwest

THE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer

Once upon a time…no. On a dark and stormy night…wait–there was no storm. Long ago and far away…but, it was only a few years ago, and not far if you live in suburban New Jersey. So, one dark and December night in the safe and tidy suburb of Stellar Plains, New Jersey, an arctic chill seeped under doors, a frigid blast blew through windows, and a glacial nipping swirled between the sheets of spouses and lovers. And, just as suddenly, the woman turned from their men, and stopped having sex.

April 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Humorous, Reading Guide

STASH by David Matthew Klein

Debut novelist Klein has written a smart and nervy domestic drama/thriller. The pages fly, and the prose is crisp and economical. He tackles difficult, dicey, and controversial subject matter without handing out platitudes or falling into blunt party line agendas. I am tempted to call it a non-puff beach read. It is lively, energetic, and easily accessible, but it is also thought provoking and ultimately bold.

July 28, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Reading Guide

THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE YOU by Drew Perry

Jack Lang is not great at being in the world. At the start of this quirky and original book, he has impulsively purchased a second ranch house – right across the street from his original house – at an auction. His wife Beth, a teacher at a local college, his just left him for his good friend Terry Canavan. Terry’s long-time girlfriend, Rena, may or may not be coming on to him.

To really complicate things, he is left in charge of his autistic savant son Hendrick, who has a penchant for memorizing the Weather Channel and mimicking advertising (in its entirety) and sloganeering verbatim.

And that’s just the start of things.

July 11, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Humorous, Reading Guide, US South

BEACH WEEK by Susan Coll

Those who enjoyed Susan Coll’s last novel will be pleased to know that she has successfully recycled a different aspect of the same material in her newest, bitingly witty satire, Beach Week. While Acceptance took aim at the upper middle class suburban hysteria surrounding the college application process, Beach Week is much edgier, a novel whose focus is the post-graduation tradition of high school seniors in the wealthy DC suburbs. During the summer before college, mobs of college-bound spoiled eighteen-year-olds rent, with the sanction and cosignatures of parents, beach houses along the Delaware shore where they engage in a week of bad decisions and biblical-like immorality.

June 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Satire, Washington, D.C.

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Two young people caught in a mundane existence are at the heart of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates. April and Frank Wheeler, formerly lively Greenwich Village singles, have become an ordinary suburban Connecticut married couple. The book is just as poignant now as it was when it was first published in 1961. Named one of Time’s top one hundred novels of the 20th century, it was re-released in time for the December 2008 movie version.

November 30, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Classic, Contemporary, Debut Novel, NE & New York