I devoured this sharp, peculiar memoir in a single evening. Gornick, in a voice unlike anyone else’s—funny, incisive, disappointed—describes walks through New York City, conversations with friends and lovers, and “odd women” of literature and history whose lives have not conformed to the conventional patterns of marriage and motherhood. Gornick is as keen a critic as she is a trenchant observer of the daily drama of the city sidewalk, but this book isn’t just smart: it’s dazzlingly alive and deeply moving.
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The plot turns on the bond between species and lessons learned from species co-habitation, but Fowler's novel isn't a feel-good manifesto for animal rights. The “politically correct” ballast front-loaded into the central circumstance of this novel is farcically dispatched with a stolen Madame Defarge marionette. Underlying issues of identity and perception, and stories of how families succumb to guilt and grief, are intellectually examined by a passionate stakeholder, and are performed, not preached. This book offers great suspense and pathos, and provides a lot of points to ponder. You will want to share it.
Michelle Hoover who wowed Prairie Lights’ audience, reading from her first book, The Quickening, now has a second book. It’s called Bottomland and, like her first, deals with rural culture in Iowa in the early 20th Century. This book is more of a thriller than The Quickening, involving a Germ, as always, well researched with characters formed by the dark circumstances of their lives. She’ll be reading the end of April, a reading all lovers of Willa Cather and the great mid-western writers will not want to miss.
Which of us has not noticed the same people every day of our lives and, not knowing anything of their real circumstances, created an imaginary narrative around them to satisfy our own fantasies? This is certainly the case of Rachel, our protagonist, who sees a couple on their terrace every morning on her commute to work, and builds her own biography of their lives. When the woman goes missing and is the subject of endless media reports, Rachel feels she knows this woman and tries to help the police with their investigation. This intriguing premise is the springboard of Ms. Hawkins' fascinating suburban thriller -- a tale told by three women: Rachel, an alcoholic; Megan, the missing woman; and Anna, who remarried Rachel's husband, Tom, after their divorce. All three narrators are unreliable, wearing the blinders of their addictions, dissatisfactions, and jealousies. Full of red herrings, flashes of revelations, and plenty of twists and turns, this is a splendid mystery populated with fascinating characters. Enjoy!