Saturday, March 28, 2009

To Siberia: A Novel

To Siberia: A Novel by Per Petterson
Intriguing but DisappointingWritten in the narrative voice of a young woman coming of age in Denmark during the German occupation, To Siberia is written in varying shades of gray, which overpower the story at times. The narrator jumps from past to present and from Denmark to Norway with little warning which makes the story hard to follow occasionally. However, the book is rich in description, which occasionally overpowers the plot.


Eve by Elissa Elliott.
From the first paragraph of the prologue, Elissa Elliott’s novel EVE grabbed me and did not let me go until the end. Even then the story and the world of Eve, Adam, Cain, Abel, Naava, Aya, Dara, and Jarden haunted me for days to come. This is a beautiful and powerful first novel. Elliott’s choice of words and language are unique and gripping. This is the story we have always wondered about, and Elissa Elliott’s imagination has filled in the blanks and created an Eve who is a many sided woman, often loving and generous and often whiny and full of blame for others. It is Aya, the second daughter, who, because of her position in the family, is able to show us all of the other characters clearly.
I was reminded of Poisonwood Bible with the multiple women’s viewpoint while reading this story. Elliott is a talented new novelist and I will watch for other novels from her in the future. In the meantime I will hold on to this novel to reread at my leisure.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Night Navigation

This is a first novel by Ginnah Howard. I reviewed it for the publisher. It will be published April 14, 2009 by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. It is described by the editor as "A fugue in two voices, Del, a 62 year old mother, and Mark, her 37 year old son."

Night Navigation is a powerful novel from an accomplished first novelist. Writing in the alternating voices of the mother, Del, and her 32 year old son Mark, Howard adds to reader involvement. I was pulled into the skillfully drawn maternal co-dependency, which is part of most mother/child relationships. The author’s writing style of short, choppy sentences in the Mark sections echoes his manic mind state.
Though this at first seems a dark novel, there are instances of humor which lighten the drama and make the characters and situations real. Her use of imagery, the careful filling of the coffee pot, the struggle with the bats, Mark’s paranoia about crows, all rise to symbolic significance and add depth to the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Night Navigation, and am looking forward to the author’s second novel.


Hi anyone who wanders in here. This is a new blog which I have started for the sole purpose of posting reviews of the books I am reading voraciously. Hope you enjoy them.