Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

This is an excellent second novel. I ran onto the Kite Runner and never bought it until I had exhausted all my other books and was going to spend the day at the hospital. I am so glad that I bought it because I would never have thought to read or even look forward to A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is a line from an Afghan poem.

This is an excellent second novel by a new author, Khaled Hosseini. It is full of emotion and the characters are as true to life an any breathing person. You are taken in just pages into the novel. You get to see a part of Afghanistan that is not torn apart by war and see that not all Afghans are what we see on the news. The two main characters in the book, Mariam and Laili become a part of you and you cry right along with them and for them.

I really loved this novel. I cried and laughed my way through the entire book, just as I did with the Kite Runner. I suggest you read them both.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lean Mean Thirteen!

It's in!

Late--I know. A certain library vendor is not getting another preorder on Evanovich. But at least it's finally here.

Will Joe triumph over Ranger? Will Ranger steal Steph? Will Stephanie make up her mind? I won't get to read it for weeks--it's that booked up, but I'll make a fearless prediction: Nothing will be resolved in this book, but it'll be rip-roarin' fun!. We have two copies in print and one on CD, so get in line and don't tell me anything until I've read it myself!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Stolen Child Steals The Heart

After reading The Stolen Child, I had to find Keith Donohue's biography (no easy task) to find out how old he is. Surprise! He's just a kid! He's not even forty! I was startled to discover he was so much younger than I because, as a baby boomer born in '46, I listen for the voice of my generation, and Donohue has it--he's just too young to have lived it. Like a good novelist, he tricks us into belief.

The plot of The Stolen Child is simple, based on a W.B. Yeat's poem of the same name. A child of the '40's named Henry Day is stolen by hobgoblins and one of the captors takes his place. Henry and the changeling grow up, each telling his story in alternating chapters, crossing paths until one day they meet. There is humor and pathos, but primarily a thoughtful retelling of the changes that occur when a child is taken from his natural setting and is forced to begin a new life.

The beauty of the book, and the poignant sweetness, is that about mid-way this Baby Boomer (who had been blithely reliving her life through the events that swirl around Henry and the changeling) entered emotionally into the story. I, too, am a changeling, as are my many compatriots born in the late 40's. How many lives have we led, and how foreign do we feel in each of them? And, for me, how impossible is it to go home and be that solitary kid on the rock hill who dreamed away the long days?

Who were you before the divorce? And who are you now? Who will you be once you've married again? And can you ever drive past the house that held that other life and not feel the ghosts of another time watching you pass? How do you move on?

Donohue, kid that he is, leads his characters home and, in so doing, holds out to all of us--lost children that we are--a handful of hope.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mother Sings Me To Sleep


Mother by Linda Ann Rentschler absolutely put me to sleep--literally. The first night I tried to read a few chapters, I couldn't keep my eyes open and finally gave it up and went to bed. Let me tell you: that never happens to me. The book reads like a first year fiction writing class assignment--improbable plot with manipulated ending, a dull (slightly irritating) heroine, too much exposition and too little dialogue.

Mary Sullivan grieves to the point of reader nausea over the death of her mother and just happens to meet a young woman in a luncheonette on the day before the evening that Cathy (the young woman) loses her own mother in a tragic car accident. Cathy ends up on Mary's doorstep, looking for comfort. She gets the address from a policeman. Small town? Really small town?

The two women bond instantly and Mary leaves her husband and two sons plus myriad commitments to go to college with Cathy and take a course that will help her become acceptable to a professor psychic who will help both women contact their dead mothers. Are you with me here?

The best parts of the book emerge when the husband and two sons are onstage. They are perfectly drawn and provide humor and delightful dialogue. The scenes in which they star are funny, poignant, and right on target--so the gal can write. I just wish she had used a little of that creativity on the plot and main characters.

The ending has an unexpected twist but the foundations are laid too late in the book to make for a believable construction. Don't wait on the movie, folks. Wait for her to write two more books.

She's got talent, she might get better.