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Padgett Powell is funny and deep and very brave in his recent fiction. His last novel, Interrogative Mood, consisted entirely of questions, sometimes annoying, but more often than not, strangely witty. His new book, You & Me, features two nameless characters conversing, Waiting for Godot style about very little. Brief chapters direct skewed talk at subjects mostly having to do with language, and if you love language as much as I do, Powell's use/misuse of our mother tongue will have you in stitches for the length of the book. Full of jokes and tales that are neither jokes nor tales,
American novelist Howard Norman has made a career of writing beautiful novels set in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. In another of those wonderful books, he gives us Wyatt Hillyer, a seventeen-year old boy, who is orphaned when his parents commit suicide on the same night over their unrequited love for the same woman. A huge pleasure to read.
This book is what it purports to be. Mason has internalized Odysseus and has drawn lovely bits that could well be fragments of Homer in a gorgeously Hellenized English. Some parts are made up out of whole cloth, others are variations on scenes from the original and others exist is a kind of dream state. Be this what it may, Mason, a computer scientist and classist, has his audience reading, thinking and dreaming as though they were one with the world Odysseus inhabited. This a magical novel that will have going back to Homer or perhaps even picking up a little Greek.
Jamaican novelist Andrea Levy, who gave us Small Island and The Fruit of the Lemon, has written her third and most powerful novel yet. With anger and sorrow, The Long Song tells a tragic and ironic tale of slavery in colonial Jamaica. In the here novel, Levy has created many unforgettable characters, including the grand and beautiful Miss Julie. This is a rich and complex story filled with the magic of history. A finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
Mary Roach, the Sarah Vowell of science writing, takes on NASA this time and her witty, provocative questions are directed at astronauts and space scientists. We learn the dangers of vomiting in space, the generally horny behavior of Russian astronauts in the presence of female astronauts and the style of supermen when they are asked embarrassing personal questions about their thrilling lives in outer space. Mary Roach, who gave us the hysterical Stiff and Spooked, is as funny here as she has always been. You'll fly through this book.
Irish crime novelist Tana French took the Edgar Award with her brilliant first novel, In the Woods and did very will with her second novel, Likeness. Faithful Place, set in the slums of Dublin, is surely her best novel yet. Jim Mackey and his girl, Rosie, plan to escape the slums that ruined their parents' lives by slipping off to London. Rosie doesn't show up for their meeting, breaking Jim's heart and sending him out of his neighborhood and away from his dysfunctional family.
This original noir is set in bakersfield, California, the town where Hitchcock made "Psycho". A hot and dangerous romance has ignited between the town's most eligible bachelor and an ambitious young Chicana singer. The whole town knows and talks about it. At the same time the actress (Janet Leigh) and the director (Alfred Hitchcock) arrive to shoot the Bates Motel scene from "Psycho". A real murder and a movie murder cross paths. Munoz is a vary talented writer and his sense of noir atmosphere is flawless.
The great American film-maker John Sayles has always had a deep interest in American history and his views tend to correspond with those of the late historian Howard Zinn—America as the imperial nation, land of the powerful rich and the disempowered poor, drunk on a belief in “manifest destiny”.