The Last Crossing

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 Girl Who Played Go

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

Woman in Bronze

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

Girl With A Pearl Earring

A bit of a break from routine with this one, as I discuss both Tracy Chevalier’s novel Girl with a Pearl Earring as well as the film adaptation. With subheadings and everything! Fancy. . . . → Read More: Girl With A Pearl Earring

The Alienist

I’m definitely not a fan of the mystery genre, nor do I tend to read fiction of the crime, horror, thriller or suspense varieties. So for me, reading Caleb Carr’s The Alienist involved a jaunt into fairly unfamiliar-genre territory, right from the start. In the end, I think it was the soft, grainy, vintage photograph on the cover, evoking a strong and enticing sense of turn of the century New York city, that compelled me to pick up this book and see if it couldn’t capture my interest. . . . → Read More: The Alienist