THE ORPHAN CHOIR by Sophie Hannah

In Sophie Hannah’s THE ORPHAN CHOIR, forty-one year old Louise Beeston may be on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Her creepy next-door neighbor, Justin Clay, plays loud music late at night, usually every other weekend. Although Louise has repeatedly implored him to stop, Clay is indifferent to her pleas. (Louise’s husband, Stuart, is oblivious to the cacophony. Even if a freight train were to pass through their bedroom, Stuart would remain asleep.) Unfortunately, Louise has little hope that Clay, a pot-smoking party animal who enjoys living it up with his loud-mouthed friends, will change his ways.

February 13, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Psychological Suspense, United Kingdom

ANDREW’S BRAIN by E.L. Doctorow

This was a wonderfully easy book to get into and enjoy; now I just need to figure out what it was about! Although there are no quotation marks, it seems to be a dialogue: a man whom we later identify as Andrew talking to what appears to be some kind of psychologist, someone who studies the mind. Andrew himself is a cognitive neuroscientist; he studies the physical brain. On one level, Doctorow seems to be examining the distinction between the two, as though Andrew’s mind were behaving in ways that Andrew’s brain alone cannot explain.

January 9, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Reading Guide, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

PIG’S FOOT by Carlos Acosta

Oscar Kortico might be living in the slums of Havana now but the story he narrates is one of voluptuous plenty — populated by a vast array of colorful characters in a seemingly idyllic setting. “In the 1800s Pata de Puerco was just one small corner of a sweeping plain with a few scattered shacks between the Sierra Maestra mountains of Santiago de Cuba and the copper mines of El Cobre,” Kortico says, as he describes the Cuban village where his grandparents settled.

December 29, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Cuba, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, World Lit

LOST MEMORY OF SKIN by Russell Banks

The main character of Banks’ new novel, a twenty-two-year-old registered sex offender in South Florida known only as “the Kid,” may initially repel readers. The Kid is recently out of jail and on ten-year probation in fictional Calusa County, and is required to wear a GPS for soliciting sex from an underage girl. Ironically, he is still a virgin.

The Kid cannot leave the county, but he also cannot reside within 2,500 feet from any place children would congregate. That leaves three options—the swamplands, the airport area, or the Causeway. He chooses the Causeway and meets other sex offenders, a seriously motley crew, who consciously isolate from each other as a group. He befriends one old man, the Rabbit, but sticks to his tent, his bicycle, and his alligator-size pet iguana, Iggy. Later, he procures a Bible.

September 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Florida

LADIES’ MAN by Richard Price

Crude and hilarious, LADIES’ MAN from American author and screenwriter, Richard Price is a week in the life of Kenny Becker, a thirty-year-old college dropout who works as door-to-door salesman selling crappy cheap gadgets. It’s the 1970s, and Kenny lives in New York with his girlfriend, “bank clerk would-be singer” La Donna, a good-looking, marginally talented girl whose big night revolves around a cheesy talent contest at a hole- in-the-wall club called Fantasia. Kenny has a series of failed relationships in his past, and when the book begins, La Donna’s singing lessons, according to Kenny, appear to be placing a strain on the couple.

August 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Drift-of-Life, Humorous, New Orleans

THE WINTER GHOSTS by Kate Mosse

Mosse gives her beguiling novel an old fashioned gothic framework that suits this eerie story of ghostly love in an insular mountain village of France a decade after WWI. The story opens in 1933 as Frederick Watson visits an antiquarian bookseller in Toulouse. “He walked like a man recently returned to the world. Every step was careful, deliberate. Every step to be relished.” Well-dressed and confident, Watson knows his appearance contrasts sharply with his last visit to Toulouse in 1928 at age 25. “He had been another man then, a tattered man, worn threadbare by grief.”

July 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Facing History, France, Mystery/Suspense, Psychological Suspense