Reading: three books, briefly noted…


I was immediately drawn into Alice McDermott’s novel, Someone. She has been nominated for the Pulitzer three times and has won the National Book Award, and you can see why in this novel.  She places her narrator-heroine, Marie, in post-WWII Brooklyn, surrounded by her Irish-Catholic neighbors and family. The story is so simple and straight-foward that you feel transported into Marie’s life with all the sensibilities and manners of the time. Marie’s uncomplicated life becomes fascinating in the hands of this writer.  There is nothing modern about this book. The language is exquisite.

Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Breadcrumbs leaves alot to be desired. Quindlen writes in an easy, modern, magazine style…probably from the days writing her column for Newsweek. The novel has an interesting premise: a 60-something woman artist leaves NYC to live in the country for a year and is scared to death of the noises in the house on her first night. That pulled me in. It deteriorates into a predictable love story in which the capable roofer/bird watcher melts her city-fied walls of sophistication. One reviewer called this ‘harequin romance meets interesting literary style’. The love story drives the plot, but there is also the secondary theme of a woman finding her own way when she thought the best days of her life were over.

A highly original work, The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, must be listened to in its audio format, as it is read by Meryl Streep. The story is a brief one and is told from the point of view of an aging, suffering mother whose son has died.  Mary is not a believer that her now deceased child was the son of God sent to save sinners of the world. Not only is she sad and bitter over the loss of her son, she is hostile towards the entire group of men, the apostles, who she calls ‘misfits’, whom she blames for turning her son into a guru-type person.  It is a mother’s story about how a son was taken from her, not a religious story at all.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Melinda Basker
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 01:17:06

    Sounds interesting. I want to listen to it.



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