Some novels are unevenly written. While the story may be compelling, the background reads like a text book. Or the setting and background are riveting and the characters are not well developed. The Elephant of Belfast is one such book. The history is informative and well done, the flow of the story not so much. You may have surmised by now, that I love to read historical fiction. As debate rages about what is appropriate historical material to teach in the classroom, this genre can provide a wide open window to slices of history that may be new to you. To badly paraphrase a quote from author Pam Jenoff (The Orphan Tale, The Lost Girls of Paris, Code Name: Sapphire): history is not a list of facts and dates, it is the choices people make when their lives are at risk. How true that is.
TWO NOVELS EXPLORE HISTORY THROUGH THE LENS OF FICTION: Are they at risk?
In reading the two books I will discuss, the threat of censorship was with me on every page. As I read, I was thinking of historical fiction as a source of understanding and new knowledge.What we might learn from the adage...walk a mile in my shoes. Personal stories that shed light on who we were, what we've done, and perhaps, why we are in the state we're in now.
The Evolving Dynamics of Family: The Other Mother
This is a multigenerational tale of a mixed-race family that has many complications. Mixed race is only the beginning. Add into the mix a gay couple who has a baby via sperm donor in the time when AIDS was at its peak. The child, now college age, has many questions about his father and it is with this quest that the book unfolds. THE OTHER MOTHER by Rachel M. Harper, is a novel about l who can be a mother, the different configurations of family, and how the actions of family members may be well-intentioned but destructive..
AMERICAN DIRT: A STORY OF TERROR, DISPLACEMENT AND LOVE
A book like this is why fiction can have an impact on how we view and think about subjects we may know about, but never personally encounter. And it is a great discussion starter.
The Loved Ones: Healing an Inheritance of Grief
If you think about the families in this story, the plot and its twists, or even the unlikely title for this book, you might wonder how in the world it fits together. And yet it does. Remarkably well. It is a story of unlikely attractions, where they lead, their consequences and how they shape lives. … Continue reading The Loved Ones: Healing an Inheritance of Grief
A Tale of Family Trauma Elegantly Rendered
Lately, if I've read a book that has garnered a long list of prizes (2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, best book of year by NPR and Publisher's weekly and over the top reviews, I read it with great anticipation and am usually surprised by the acclaim, disappointed with the story or lack thereof, … Continue reading A Tale of Family Trauma Elegantly Rendered
Silver Sparrow/ Tayari Jones SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL
This is a story of sisters like no other. As anyone who has ever had a sister, known someone with a sister, a read a book about sisters, it is one of the most complex relationships. This book takes the relationship into unusual territory. A story of sisters like no other. This book takes the relationship into unusual territory. To give you the enticing flavor of the story, this is the novel's first line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamy." It is a fascinating story of deception, family's complicity and the girls caught in the middle.
Romeo and Juliet NYPD Style
Ask Again, Yes could be said to be an absorbing twist on the Romeo and Juliet story. The basic premise is there—two feuding families (with good reason) not wanting their children to see each other, let alone become romantically involved. Wound into this is the American dream story that may or may not have gone awry.