October 21 / 17
Hey! It’s the weekend and I have three things to pass along to you today. First, a book review from Literary Hub. Three books that are the rave is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins and The Girls by Emma Cline.
Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker – “Saunders does a fine job—and has a fine time—quickening his little necropolis to literary life … Although readers may feel that Lincoln in the Bardohas little in common with the author’s dystopian short stories, there’s actually quite a lot of similarity in preoccupation and technique. Saunders often pays imaginative attention to corporations, bureaucracies, and nomenclature, and he has a predilection for creepy theme parks…In Saunders’s hands, Oak Hill, too, is a kind of theme park, with various rules and precincts and spectacles, as well as opportunities for the author’s parodic gifts … Even with this granular structure and its comic interludes, the book gathers a satisfying momentum, enough to reveal what Saunders has called, in one of his essays, a novel’s Apparent Narrative Rationale—what the writer and the reader have tacitly agreed the book is ‘about’ … he also elects to venture into Lincoln’s awareness and perceptions, and, when he does, it’s an all-in enterprise, a physical incursion undertaken not only to extract characterizing thoughts but also to influence them…Saunders is giving us an imaginative truth in keeping with a number of startling and benevolent short stories he has written, ones that end with characters reaching a low point and then pulling themselves back up.”
Claire Fallon, The Huffington Post – “Collins’ impressionistic, psychologically observant collection captures moments from a past era that should remind idealistic readers today that our disillusionment is not new … At every turn, Collins burrows deep into the minds of her characters, mostly black women, and brings to life their daily joys and frustrations as well as their persistent anxieties … Nearly 30 years after her too-early passing, this author’s powerful debut collection manages to perfectly embody the existential torment of her country.”
Kate Tuttle, The Los Angeles Times – “The Girls is gorgeous, disquieting, and really, really good … [Cline’s] prose conveys a kind of atmospheric dread, punctuated by slyly distilled observation, not unlike the early cinematic style of Roman Polanski, whose wife, actress Sharon Tate, was killed by the Manson family. That deliberate tone remains throughout, though it’s somewhat less successful in the sections set in the present … By far the strongest writing comes when Cline limns the nearly exquisite boredom and anticipation of early adolescence … brings a fresh and discerning eye to both the specific, horrific crime at her book’s center, one firmly located in a time and place, and the timeless, slow-motion tragedy of a typical American girlhood.”
I think these books could be a great addition to your nightstand….Check out lithub.com for more about what’s going in the literary world.
Image source: Literary Hub, unknown