Sioban Fallon's short stories of contemporary army life at Fort Hood, Texas, show a side of the Iraq war that we don't often think about: life for those who live on base in the US. Fallon's characters have wars of their own with their neighbors, within their families, and most often with loneliness and uneasy waiting. These stories reverberate with emotion, and shine with a bright inner truth. I read a story each morning, and found that traces of it quietly shone all day.
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.
This is an excellent read. What I enjoyed most about the book was the sense of movement conveyed by its constant switching among narrators who live in different times and spaces. This could have easily resulted in a confused muddle, but Mandel handles it so deftly and smoothly that I never felt lost.
Following his two amazing short story collections, Mr. Van Booy's first novel has arrived! This tale of three friends in Athens charts the joy and hearbreak of love, and the difficult task of finding the wherewithal to move forward and begin again. Displaying an uncanny ability to convey emotions, spirituality and humanity within the simplest of sentences, Mr. Van Booy's skill with language and imagery is unparalleled -- this book is so finely written it will leave you breathless. Highly recommended.