Posts tagged with "Literary"

Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/02/11
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Henry captures the feeling of the spare, quiet beauty and majesty of the American West in Lime Creek. There's a touching love story, struggles between a father and son and the relationship between humans and nature all delicately balanced in 142 pages. Growing up in Denver, I can relate to this storyteller. It's a calming and refreshing book in the midst of this summer heat.

Posted by mingh on 05/13/11
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In 2009, Francisco Goldman's wife died of a freak accident at a Mexican beach. Having difficulty accepting his wife Aura's loss, he started to write a fictional story of a character he called, Francisco Goldman. The character Francisco Goldman also loses his wife, Aura, to a freak beach accident on the coast of Mexico. That much we know.
 
By putting all of this in a fictional context, author Goldman is allowed to explore his feelings both good and bad and to explore the feelings of his wife in the character that he has created. The book does not read like a memoir--it really does read like fiction. And it is helped by it as the author can condense time in the story and allow us to wonder if the other characters are real or compilations. We don't know if the real Aura said that to her Mother. But the fictional one does and can. The story moves along as you jump between times before they met, through their courtship and even after her death.
 
I don't know if a memoir could have been as profound as what we read as fiction. The author is able to explore relationships and feelings more deeply than if he was having to stick to the facts or the truth as he knew it. Goldman has written both nonfiction and fiction, so he does know the difference. The choice to present his story as fiction makes it a more compelling albeit very sad read.

Posted by mingh on 08/01/11
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When Beatrice Hemmings learns that her younger sister has gone missing in London, she hurriedly returns to her home country to comfort and assist her mother and the investigation. Tess is found one week later in circumstances that suggest suicide. Beatrice is unbelieving and so begins her search for the truth in her sister's life.
 
Beatrice tells the reader the story of her life with and without her sister. As they grow, Tess becomes the bohemian artist and Beatrice the suited New York consultant. What drove them to the choices they made? Beatrice reflects on their life together and why she is so sure her sister would not commit suicide.
 
Beatrice begins to understand that there was so much about her sister's life that she never knew. When Beatrice learns that Tess was pregnant and undergoing experimental gene therapy for her cystic fibrosis fetus at the time she went missing, she tries to learn everything she can about the therapy and the major pharmacy company that is underwriting it.
 
But Tess has also complained about menacing phone calls in the days leading up to her disappearance. And who is the father and what is his role in the story? Although the police are sympathetic, unless Beatrice can find evidence of some wrong-doing, they are reluctant to investigate. So it is up to Beatrice to find out.
 
Sister is part mystery, psychological suspense novel, and medical thriller all rolled into one. There are twists and turns in this novel that keep it moving at a good pace. Book discussion groups that like mysteries that delve into family relationships are sure to like this one.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/08/11
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Mysliwski is a highly regarded, prize-winning contemporary author of Poland, and this is his first novel to be translated into English. A gritty, realistic epic of one Polish man's journey through the changes that took place in this tumultuous region over the last century.

Posted by mingh on 11/16/11
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Julie Otsuka's beautiful novel tells the story of the large wave of women who emigrated to America from Japan as mail-order brides for Japanese men. Each chapter is written as if from the viewpoint of someone who witnessed it. The fears, hopes, and joys of the women are depicted and the reality of their situations to come. It is like hearing many voices relating their experiences.
 
Women, who had been brought up in houses with servants, were finding themselves having to pick fruit in the hot California sun. For many, their prospective husbands lied to them and sent pictures of other, more wealthy Japanese men, to represent themselves. The women have no money to leave, having given the money to their families still in Japan.
 
The time period is the early twentieth century until the middle of the second World War when most of the Japanese in California had to to go to the Internment Camps. Then the chapter changes to the voices of the white women left behind who notice their absence and wonder where they have gone.
 
In this slim novel is a wealth of experience, with much to be learned about the women who came over with such hopes for a new and wonderful life. How they had to survive and endure is the beauty of the story.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/27/11
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It comes as no surprise that Jesse Ball is also a poet and an artist. The Curfew is spare and poetic in its prose, and artful in its storytelling. Reminiscent of Kafka without being derivative. Highly original and universal in its emotional impact.

Posted by mingh on 02/14/11
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On her ninth birthday, Rose discovers that she has a terrible affliction. She can taste the feelings of whomever made the meal. She first learns of this when tasting her lemon birthday cake as made by her mother. The frustration and disillusionment of her mother overwhelms young Rose, who doesn't know what to do about it. She is too young to articulate what she feels in the cake and her mother misunderstands her.
 
Rose's odd brother is five years older than Rose and avoids her and most of the world. Her father spends too much time at work and not enough time with the family. Rose begins to crave snacks made in factories because they lack any human interference. She doesn't know how to talk to anyone in her family and feels very alone. Her brother's friend George is the only nice person she meets. He finds her talent fascinating and always has time for her.
 
As Rose grows up, changes occur in the family, her mother becomes happy and Rose can taste why in her meals. Her brother becomes more and more removed from the world and soon Rose finds out that he too has a special talent. As readers we watch Rose grow from a child with a terrible torment to a young woman with a gift.
 
A dark, despairing but ever hopeful story.

Posted by cclapper on 05/16/11
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Blackwell, Massachusetts -- Over 300 years!: A small town still harbors many lives- lives that arrive, intertwine, diverge and disappear.  Lives like the brave young English immigrant who faced a wilderness and founded the settlement that became her new home.  A young man who migrated into the big city taking only his dog.  Civil war veterans, poets and notables from history, all pass through this small town.  And all pass through one garden- a garden only of red plants.  One garden that changes them all.
 
Alice Hoffman has given us many notable works- Practical Magic and Second Nature among others.  For young adults she wrote Aquamarine, Incantation, Green Witch...  This new novel has been called "exquisite", "beautifully crafted", "shimmering with magic".  I think this sounds worth investigating.