Tag Archives: Narrative Voice

My Father’s Moon by Elizabeth Jolley

Synopsis: An unwed mother tries working in an impoverished boarding school and finds herself yearning for the nurse she fell in love with back when both were working in a military hospital in England during WWII. Review: My Father’s Moon is the first of three books in The Vera Wright Trilogy, an autobiographical series that has long been out-of-print. Highly praised in its time, Elizabeth Jolley‘s work wasn’t widely known outside of her native Australia until now. Based on My Father’s Moon, I daresay Ms.…

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The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

Synopsis: In the near future, a high-functioning autistic man is presented with the opportunity to be “fixed,” causing him to wonder if he was ever really broken. Review: I first read Speed of Dark a few years ago, on the recommendation of a friend. I really enjoyed revisiting it, especially now that I’m a mom and have friends who have kids on the autism spectrum. I really loved how Elizabeth Moon made Leo a real, relatable character, to the point where I really wanted him…

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Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Synopsis: Two years after the death of her famous writer husband, Lisey Landon must return to the other world where he both drew his inspiration and unearthed his demons in order to defeat a madman and put her husband’s legacy to rest for good. Review: I listened to the audiobook of Lisey’s Story, narrated by the incomparable Mare Winningham, and this was actually my second encounter with the book, which I have read once before. It’s one of King’s most ambitiously intimate stories, delving deep…

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The Comedians by Graham Greene

Synopsis: A hotelier, a nominal candidate for the US presidency, and a conman’s lives converge in Haiti during the height of the reign of Papa Doc Duvalier and his Tontons Macoute. Review: While I was captivated by Graham Greene’s remarkable prose prowess in The Comedians, I wasn’t as enthralled by the story as I wanted to be. My interest never dipped below the purely intellectual into the realm of emotion. There was something much too male about the story’s tone and construction for my tastes,…

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The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

Synopsis: Robbed of his fortune by a rival from his school days, Edward Glyver seeks vengeance and restoration under an assumed name. Review: The Meaning of Night is a cunningly plotted piece of faux-Victoriana, conjuring up Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins with a soupcon of sex that doesn’t feel anachronistic at all. Edward Glyver’s nesting-doll tale gives every character a chance to tell his or her own life story, and Cox makes each one fascinating in its own right. Despite the near-constant digressions, Cox never…

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The Sister by Poppy Adams

Synopsis: When elderly Ginny’s sister returns home for the first time since she was a girl, old memories surface that threaten Ginny’s carefully ordered existence. Review: I’m incredibly thankful for the Queens Library for getting The Sister to me so quickly–I can’t remember the last time I read a book so recently published. The review in the New York Times made me think that it’d satisfy my aching desire for more books like Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale. Gothic intrigue. Family secrets. Opaque narration. Superfast…

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Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Synopsis: Accused of murder, a troubled young woman tries to piece together the odd facets of her life, starting with her supposed immaculate conception. Review: The chapters in Madapple alternate between a teasingly opaque courtroom case, and defendant Aslaug’s reminiscences about life with her disturbed mother and eventual reunion with her long lost aunt and cousins. Nothing about Aslaug’s life has been ordinary. Her mother claimed that Aslaug had no father because she had never had a lover. She raised Aslaug in the woods, among…

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The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith

Synopsis: While working on a novel in Tunisia, a writer encounters his own heart of darkness. Review: I had written a truly brilliant review of Patricia Highsmith’s The Tremor of Forgery, but it got eaten. Fie! The salient points were: Patricia Highsmith plays cat and mouse with the reader just like her most famous creation Tom Ripley played cat and mouse with anyone he encountered She is a master of nuance characterization The final third of the novel is a tour-de-force of subtle character dynamics…

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Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Synopsis: Deanna’s lived under a dark cloud ever since her dad caught her having sex when she was just 13, and her dreams of getting out just might expire under the weight of his disapproval. Review: I’m a latecomer getting to Sara Zarr’s National Book Award Finalist novel Story of a Girl, though it’s been on my radar for quite some time. I’m so glad I finally carved out some time to read it. I’ve often criticized young adult literature for piling on the woe,…

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Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb

Synopsis: Soldier Son Nevare’s adventures culminate in a battle within his divided self for mastery of his body in defiance of the magic. Review: When last we saw Nevare, he was grossly fat and resigned to a life on the outside. A Soldier Son of modest ambition, Nevare’s soul was cleft in two during a battle with the tree goddess Lisana. Now, in Renegade’s Magic, the trilogy’s conclusion, Nevare finds himself trapped, with his Speck alter-ego having taken control of his body in order to…

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