Townhouse Books

Monday, April 30, 2007

Surfacing: by Margaret Atwood

A slim, early work by Atwood, that took some ideas from her much better "Edible Woman" and gave an entire passage to the later "Cats Eye." A woman brings her boyfriend and another couple with her to an isolated island in Canada after her father disappears. They stay for a week and in various ways start to unravel. Though Atwood's exploration of loneliness and desolute wilderness were fascinating and her language as always beautiful, the story itself was distant and a little obvious.


Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hotel New Hampshire: by John Irving

A delightful absurdist tale of a family and their hotel-owning experiences in New England and Vienna. It's also occasionally tragic (sudden, unexpected deaths), occasionally creepy (sibling love affair, ewww), and bizarre (bears and Austrian terrorists). I sped through the book on an airplane and then the next day, still wrapped up in its spell. Within a few days after finishing, my fond memories started to be affected by logic but all in all, it's an excellent read.

Do not, under any circumstances however, allow yourself to watch the 1984 movie based on the book, even if it has a 6-year-old Seth Green as the youngest son. Awful, awful, awful, to the point of almost retroactively ruining the book.

My only previous Irving experience was A Prayer for Owen Meany 15 years ago. I think I will read another, and suggestions are welcomed of course. But before that, I have the end of an Updike four-book series to finish.



Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown

Book CoverThe story of a young man growing up in Harlem in the 50s and 60s, Manchild in the Promised Land is Claude Brown's roman à clef, and the book that launched his career.

He grew up as a working class child who got involved in drugs, crime, and the NYC penal system by the time he was 8, was sent to a school for wayward boys by the time he was 14, and then turned himself around by the age of 18. At an age that many of his friends were just getting involved in petty crimes, he had decided to leave that life behind and try to do something important with it.

Aside from the compelling story, Manchild in the Promised Land paints a vivid picture of a neighborhood in the midst of decay. It's one thing to read about drug dealers in the local newspaper, but learning about how they ended up making that decision, or, how that decision was really made for them, is a whole other thing.

Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Spot of Bother: Mark Haddon

Family drama by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Every character in this fractured family is sympathetic, which makes their conflicts and miscommunications seem both funny and sad. My hero is Ray, the daughter's unpopular fiance, who tells his future father-in-law (as he picks him up from the hospital after a botched self-surgery fueled by codeine and alcohol), "you might just be the sanest one in this family." I laughed out loud at least five times.


Enter your zip code to find this in your local library:

Labels:


Search Worldcat