CategoryOther Reviews

There There by Tommy Orange

This one will make my list of favorites for the year. The world of Native Americans in this country is hard to imagine and painful to confront. The confinement to reservations is somewhat familiar to us; this book brings us into the world of urban Native Americans, in this case, in Oakland. The author introduces many characters and slowly reveals the connections among them.  The narrative moves...

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

It was Tony’s review that sent me to this book, and thank you for that, Tony. It is set in London and begins in 1945 when Nathaniel, the narrator and his sister were teenagers and their parents left them “in the care of two men who may have been criminals.” Nathaniel tells us the story, not always in a linear manner, from his vantage point as an adult. He brings the odd corner...

The Hamilton Case by Michelle de Kretser

There is much to admire about this book, but at half way through, I gave it up. I want to read Michelle de Kretser’s two recent novels, but this was available at the library, so I gave it a try. It is set in Sri Lanka and begins with a first person narrative by a man born in 1902. His description of himself and his family paint unpleasant portraits, told with a light, amusing touch that is...

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

The second in the series of Maisie Dobbs books was at least as satisfying as the first. I was surprised how much I enjoyed revisiting the exceptional Maisie, but it was a lovely companion to kitchen work, walking, and weeding. Maisie, the former housemaid in a grand house, graduate of a Cambridge women’s college, and nurse in France during The Great War, has become a private investigator...

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna’s mother was Scottish and her father was from Sierra Leone. When she was young, her father worked in Sierra Leone as a physician. He was imprisoned and declared an Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience and later was hanged in 1975. According to Wikipedia, her memoir includes an investigation into the conspiracy surrounding his death. She has become a well-respected figure in the...

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

This is my fourth Kate Atkinson book (Life After Life, A God in Ruins, and Case Histories) and I have loved each one. This one and Case Histories feature Jackson Brodie, a former policeman who became a private investigator. The appeal of all her books for me are the characters that you come to love, however improbable they are. There’s Reggie, a teenager who manages to live on her own after...

The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat

Because of a planned visit to Malta next year, I googled “books set in Malta” and began with this one. It is remarkably good at putting you in the place and I feel I have walked the hill of Valetta, wandered through Sliema, and taken the ferry to Gozo myself. The main character is a priest who honors his noble birth and ancient family, but prefers the humble life of caring for his...

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

I bought this book on the occasion of hearing Paul Auster speak about it at the 92 Street Y, an event we attended because our wonderful kids gave us tickets to it for Christmas. It was over a year before I found the dedication required to read an 866-page book. The weight alone is daunting. At his talk he said that his father had died unexpectedly at the age of 66 and when he began thinking about...

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

The masterful storyteller Elizabeth Strout has written a series of connected stories that are each dramatic and engaging. In each we learn that whatever events occurs in a person's life, anything does continue to be possible. For me the best was the first. Tommy Guptill had a successful dairy farm; the night it burned down he had a realization that he experienced as the presence of God...

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

This National Book Award winner is truly an amazing book. I hardly know how to convey its strength. The narrative passes among three characters: A 13-year-old boy, his addicted mother, and one of the unburied. As unpromising as this seems, the story of a road trip by Leonie, her son Jojo, her three-year-old daughter, and her druggie friend Misty to pick up her boyfriend (the kids' father)...

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Blogs I Like