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“You knew my mother?”
“Not really. I only met her that once.”
“When was that, Birdie?”
Birdie Grackle sucked his dentures for a moment and then said, “The night I done killed her.”
Review by Chuck Barksdale Â (MAR 7, 2014)
Justin Chase has adjusted to his life as a barkeep (and the Zen lifestyle) after several years of living without his mother and the man he believed murdered her, his father. However, a strange man, going by the odd name of Birdie Grackle, enters the bar where Justin works and tells him that Justinâ€™s father did not murder his mother. He alleges that Birdie himself murdered her at the request of a woman who hired him to do it. Birdie says he doesnâ€™t know who paid him but that for $10,000 he will track her down. Justin does not agree to pay Birdie and does not immediately believe what Birdie is telling him. With his brother Frankâ€™s urging, Justin visits his father in prison for the first time since his father was sent there 6 years ago. Read the rest of this post »
â€śI guess youâ€™re wondering why Iâ€™m telling you this.â€ť
I shook my head. I knew why, even then, young as I was and afraid of her. I knew she was telling me because she had to tell me, showing me because she had to show someone. This room was her work as much as it was Alenaâ€™s. Alena might have made the room, but Agnes had conserved itâ€”exhaustively, painstakinglyâ€”with all the care, patience, attention, exertion at her disposal. It was a task literally without end. Did the room exist if no one saw it? And if it didnâ€™t exist, did Agnes?
Review by Bonnie Brody Â (MAR 6, 2014)
Alena is a novel about the art world and the people who inhabit it. It is said to be an homage to du Maurier’s Rebecca. However, not having read Rebecca in no way took anything away from my love of this novel. This novel stands on its own and I loved it.
The novel gets its name from the first curator of The Nauk, a private museum on the Cape in Massachusetts. For fifteen years, Alena held this position and gained a reputation of being bigger than life. She was headstrong, other-worldly, manipulative, dark, flirtatious, and intently involved in conceptual art, especially art that related to the human body. As time progressed her tastes became darker, leaning more and more towards the bloody, death-glorifying, and often gross renderings of the physical. As the novel opens, Alena has disappeared. She has been gone for two years and is presumed dead though her body has never been found. The prevailing belief is that she drowned by taking a swim in the ocean when the currents were too strong for her. Read the rest of this post »
“The children are frozen, too frightened to move closer to one of the women. The sound they heard while still in the house has advanced, roaring its way above them. There is a crash against the storm door, and they all scream, ducking with their arms held over their heads. Ellis drops his candle and, in the weak light left from the candle Mae is still holding, she sees his terrified face. Ruby is crying. Lavinia has Little Homerâ€™s face pressed into the front of her dress as if she can shield him by blocking his sight. Mae reaches out her arms and Ruby and Ellis come to her immediately. She blows out her candle and drops it so she can hold both children tight against her. In the darkness, Lavinia cries, â€śDear Lord! Oh, dear Lord!â€ť Then the roaring moves on, like a train careering over their heads. The sound recedes and, eventually, even the wind seems to subside. When there is no longer any sound except rain on the cellar doors, the children hold utterly still, waiting to see what will come next.“
Review by Jill I. Shtulman Â (MAR 5, 2014)
Falling to Earth is the kind of novel that makes me want to grab the very next person I see and urgently say, â€ťYou MUST read this.â€ť I read this rabidly with increasing awe and respect that Kate Southwood had the chops to create a debut novel with this degree of psychological insight, restrained power, and heartbreaking beauty.
The story centers on a tragedy of unimaginable proportions â€“ a tornado hits the small Illinois town of March in 1925, causing devastation and grievous loss in the homes of every single resident of the town.
Except one. Read the rest of this post »
March 5, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1920s, Europa Editions, Guilt, Loss, love, Psychological, Real Event Fiction, Revenge, Time Period Fiction, Weather Â· Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Family Matters, Literary, US Midwest
“Itâ€™s not every day that you attend the funeral of your husband as organized by his other wife. Or, rather, the funeral of the man youâ€™ve been calling husband for six months. Who was John Taylor? I no longer have a clue.”
Review by Eleanor Bukowsky Â (MAR 4, 2014)
John Taylor does not fit the stereotype of a polygamist. Although he is handsome, charming, and charismatic, he is not selfish and arrogant, nor does he seem obviously abnormal or deviant. On the contrary, Taylor is a doctor who uses his impressive skills to perform reconstructive surgery on children who have facial deformities. His partners are unhappy that Taylor insists on doing pro bono work, since the big money is in cosmetic procedures for the affluent. Still, Taylor is a complex individual who, for reasons of his own, married three women who live in Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Los Angeles; he somehow managed to juggle his myriad professional and personal responsibilities. It is only after Taylor dies in his hotel room of an apparent heart attack that his trio of wives become fodder for the tabloids. Read the rest of this post »
“It is natural law thatÂ all complex systems move from a state of order to disorder. Stars decay, mountains erode, ice melts. People get off no easier. We get old or injured and inevitably slide right backÂ into the elements we were first made from. The organized masterpiece of conception, birth, and maturation is really only two steps forward before three steps back, at least in the physical world. Sometimes when Charlotte lost a patient she thought about that and found it comfortingâ€”a reminder that she hadnâ€™t failed in what was ultimately an unwinnable game. But if she thoughtÂ about it too long, she had to wonder if her entire medical career was an interminable battle against the will of the universe.“
Review by Jana L. PerskieÂ (MAR 3, 2014)
Gemini is an intensely absorbing novel which I found difficult to put down. It is a very human tale which delves deeply into subjects like love in its many shapes and forms, and time – too little time, not enough time, counting time, too late. The author, Carol Cassella, uses time to move her storyline back and forth in years, seamlessly weaving together the characters and the events which impact them.
The novel is narrated by two characters in alternating chapters: Raney, (Renee Lee Remington), an adolescent when the story begins, unfolds her life over the years. She is an illegitimate child, abandoned by her mother and birth father. Raney lives with her extremely eccentric grandfather, who adores her, in the small town of Quentin, WA, near Olympic National Park. He goes so far as to build an underground bunker, fully supplied for TEOTWAWKI, (“The End Of The World As We Know It).” Read the rest of this post »