Lamentably, I’ve fallen a bit behind here (it was bound to happen — again — eventually). Fortunately, I had a mostly-complete draft waiting to help me get back on track quickly. Let’s pretend this entry appeared in late August, 2010 rather than January or 2011, shall we?
Having just returned [ed. note: 'Just'. Ha!] from my annual escape to most-relaxing Muskoka . . . → Read More: A Reliable Wife
This book is almost deceptively well-crafted. I first pegged The Last Crossing as a standard western/family epic: a simple adventure/love story, with a touch of mystery, wrapped in an admittedly interesting history lesson, and featuring an entertaining if perhaps occasionally cliché canvas of characters. But what Vanderhaeghe delivers is also an incredibly well-paced, thought-provoking pastiche comprised of beautifully interwoven stories. The nuances of both character and plot development are revealed in a patient, organic rhythm that was somewhat lost on me given my sporadic reading of the text. . . . → Read More: The Last Crossing
The Solitude of Prime Numbers is about two people, Alice and Mattia, who bear the scars of individual childhood tragedies. They meet as teenagers and seem to instinctively recognize this lonely, damaged quality in each other. Their resulting relationship also defies definition. The book has a beautiful flow and cadence, perfectly peppered with artfully recurring motifs such as scars, twins, and mathematical concepts. But of greatest in import and impact is the concept of absences, and of space.
. . . → Read More: The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Somewhat ironically, this is my first “real-time” (rather than “from the archives”) book review on Lost in a Book. By real-time, I mean that I finished reading the book now, in July of 2010, and am writing and sharing my thoughts on it for the first time ever. Why is this (somewhat) ironic? Because the first book I’m writing about in 2010 has been around since 1943. The book in question is Betty Smith’s much-lauded, semi-autobiographical bildungsroman, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. . . . → Read More: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
I might feel bad about judging so many books by their covers, except that it always seems to work out so damn well. My most recent foray into buying books I’ve never heard a thing about solely on the merits of cover design, The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa, is another such case. . . . → Read More: The Girl Who Played Go
I picked up and ultimately purchased my copy of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects on a whim. I was browsing in an airport bookstore when I happened on it, and was tickled by the idea of boarding an airplane holding a book with a razor blade foil-stamped on the cover. What a treat that the book ended up being a great read. . . . → Read More: Sharp Objects
One of the most remarkable qualities of Atonement, the decision that the elevates it from the ranks of other moving stories and puts it in the realm of something quite spectacular, is the way that McEwan employs an unusual narrative structure — a narrative structure that becomes a vital component of the narrative itself. . . . → Read More: Atonement
Beth Gutcheon’s Leeway Cottage is a book which is enhanced by the use of a unique narrative structure. It is comprised of a layering and entwining of two fairly disparate stories. One of these stories is among the greatest (and yet, not widely known) triumphs of World War II . The second story is a multigenerational American family epic. . . . → Read More: Leeway Cottage
Frances Itani’s Deafening features two highly distinct narrative parts. It begins as the story of a young girl from a small town in Ontario who, after contracting Scarlet Fever, loses her hearing at five years of age. The majority of the first part of the book follows Grania’s struggle to learn language, to develop literacy (both literal and emotional) and, as a result, to learn how to form and maintain relationships after having lost her hearing at such a crucial stage in childhood development. . . . → Read More: Deafening
The second great strength of Woman in Bronze is Antanas Sileika’s precise understanding of a variety of complex art-making techniques and, more importantly, his ability to impart to the reader what it feels like to be an artist. . . . → Read More: Woman in Bronze