Friday, October 2, 2015

Novels for All Seasons?

One novel of the future, one that crosses the future with the present day, and one that's firmly set in the present and the past--these were my reading joys of the last week, and I loved all three of them. So, working my way forward through time, here are brief reviews of three must-reads. Find some coffee and enjoy.

Forgiving Mariela Camacho by A. J. Sidransky follows on from the author's earlier novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothmann (click on the link for my review). It's a wonderful standalone novel of separations and connections, commitment and forgiveness, and the complexities of history and identity. An apparent suicide might turn out to be murder, an independent woman might find her freedom curtailed, and an honest cop might have to break a few rules to find the solution. Ranging from the Dominican Republic, through Europe, and all the way to Washington Heights Manhattan, the story paints a haunting immigrant experience, so wonderfully relevant to today. Enjoy with some rich, elegant, complex four-star coffee. They're both wonderful books.

Next is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a novel that beautifully combines contemporary literature with science fiction, building a wonderfully interconnected world of pre and post-apocalypse where values, loves and promises change, but humanity clings on and remains the same. Chapters interweave past and present with tiny links like mysteries or fireflies gleaming and it all comes together in a novel that's both wide-ranging and tightly woven with never a spare word or phrase. Enjoy with some more rich, elegant four-star coffee.

Then there's The Extinction Game by Gary Gibson. The first scenes had me hooked as the protagonist fought for his lonely existence. Hints of mystery intrigued. Then, suddenly, everything's different. A larger story takes the stage and takes a little longer to get going, but it's worth persevering. It's a cool mystery, inviting interesting questions about identity, relationships and existence. Enjoy with some bold, dark intense five-star coffee.

I read some non-fiction last week too. But reading, writing and reviewing have taken back burner to compiling, editing and formatting our Writers' Mill Journal (an anthology of works from our local writers' gruop). So has housework, and it's calling me. Soon it will grow spider-legs and begin to call even louder, so the next batch of reviews will have to wait. Enjoy your coffee while I work!


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