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A lionized architect flees a real estate disaster in L.A. to hide in the soggy wilds of Seattle with her Microsoft wunderkind husband and her precocious daughter. There, they become completely mired in a bog of stultifying local mores, the petty social machinations of an ambitious neighbor and a work colleague, and perversions of sheer chance. As the plot thickens, a proposed family trip to Antarctica—which initially seems like a self-indulgent, exotic plan—may be their only hope. The satire and charm of this epistolary novel emerges in the unsaid, and the suspense is great.
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, but tropes in the southern idiom, that mock and chuckle and tease us always a step ahead of the reader. Pure pleasure.
There seem to be an abundance of "end of the world" tales lately, but White Horse presents us with a terrifying and intense experience. A plague has killed off 90% of the population. The war between China and the US has depleted resources. Scientific experiments with weather have irreparably damaged the climate. Of the 10% of humans that survived the disease, half seem untouched while the other half have suffered horrific mutations. Our heroine, Zoe, guides us through this nightmare of a landscape, alternating her narration between "before" and "after" chapters. She is determined to stay alive as she works her way from America to Greece, hoping against hope to reunite with her lover before her baby is born. Fierce, violent, shocking, this is a haunting book. And even though it's part of a projected trilogy, White Horse has resolution and closure. An amazing debut from Ms. Adams.
Erikson, author of the Malazon Book of the Fallen series, takes us back to the beginning when Mother Dark reigned. Think of this as the Silmarillion for Malazon (he’ll probably hate me saying that). It’s in a different tone than Malazon, but the writing is just as stellar. If you haven’t read the Malazon series, I highly recommend it. It is far superior to Song of Fire and Ice (sorry GRRM fans)(And it’s done, so no waiting for the next book). This is the first in a trilogy.