Tag Archives: novel

Goodreads | The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16226024-the-last-summer-of-the-camperdowns

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Z a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

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by Therese Anne Fowler This is a fascinating work of fiction that brings the mysterious and enigmatic Zelda Fitzgerald to life and fleshed out a personality previously portrayed as crazy and shrewish. Zelda had talents and dreams of her own but was unable to make a name for herself as hers were always subjugated by those of her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his fragile ego feared anyone’s success over his. The author drew from archived letters from and to both F. Scott and Zelda to create this vivid and fascinating portrait.

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Time Flies by Claire Cook

time flies  When my pile of books starts looking like an avalanche of high-falutin’ literary la di da, I turn to Claire Cook for an antidote to this madness, and she never fails. If you haven’t read her books, she writes in an enjoyable, funny voice and each of her books focus on a woman who’s life has taken an unexpected turn and who may stumble and fall but always in a laugh out loud, true to life way. This one is coming, as usual in June, timed for the beach read crowd, and it will not fail to satisfy the reader. I find that ‘beach read’ books tend to be fluffy romances or funny chick books that are a bit short on funny and somewhat long on stilted writing, this is not the case with Clare Cook’s writing. We (women of a certain age) can identify with her characters, divorced  single mothers, who learn to adapt and survive by following a dream they didn’t even know they had.

In Time Flies, Melanie is newly divorced and has developed an alarming highway driving phobia. She has also become a metalwork sculptor and trying to get her quirky work out in the marketplace. She has relocated from the south shore of Massachusetts where she grew up to the suburbs of Atlanta, thanks to her ex-husband. So when her high school reunion looms and a friend won’t take no for an answer, she has to face her fears and start living. Along the way she discovers that her life is much more interesting than she thought it was as friendships are tested and the another chance at love is once more a possibility. Loved it, and I’m not just saying that because I appear in this novel’s acknowledgements thanks to a very generous Claire Cook!

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MAGNIFICENCE by Lydia Millet

ImageSusan is a serial adulterer whose life is shattered by her husband’s sudden death. As she struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her grown, paraplegic daughter, she unexpectedly inherits a mansion from a distant relative, who had filled the magnificent house with stuffed and mounted animals from around the world. At first she is creeped out by them and then becomes their caretaker, as well as the part time involuntary caretaker of her former boss’ elderly mother, who suffers from dementia. The novel explores the many forms loss can take, a loved one’s death, when it is to late to make amends, her daughter’s loss of what could have been if not for her accident, the slow loss of personality in the elderly with dementia, and the loss of animals in the wild to extinction. A sometimes funny and touching novel that reminds us to live life to the fullest while not closing our eyes to the beauty and mystery of life!

Coming November 2012

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“The Art of Fielding” A Modern Classic?

Just finished reading “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach and I believe quite strongly that this is a new American classic, in line with “The Great Gatsby” , “A Seperate Peace” and “Catcher in the Rye”. I am curious as to how many people agree with me. This is a debut novel from this author and I am anxious to see what he comes up with next! This novel’s publication was the result of some rejection at first, then an intense bidding war, as facinatingly portrayed in “Vanity Fair” magazine last spring. It is now out in paperback and I’m hoping to see a lot of copues being read on the beach this summer, I couldn’t put it down! The general gist of the novel is the story of a young man, Henry Skrimshander,  with amazing shortstop skills, plucked from obscurity and given a berth on the perennial losing baseball team of small Westish College, on the shores of Lake Michigan.  His unofficial ‘coach’ is Mike Schwartz, the young classmate at Westish, who saw him play and was the first to recognize his incredible talent.

The president of the college is Guert Affenlight, who has fallen unexpectedly in love with an inappropriate person, his daughter, who dropped out of Yale and  ran off to California to get married to an older professor has now run from the husband and back to Westish to figure out what to do next,  then there’s Owen Dunne, a member of the baseball tema and friend to all, who is accepted into the fold, despite his being openly gay.  These characters (and others) interact with each other and therefore change the course of each of their lives. It’s a coming of age story that reflects the seemingly small incidents that can put us on a path that we are surprised to find ourselves on.

Highly recommended!!!

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“Beautiful Ruins”

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Pub date June 2012
This novel is a brilliant story of love told in two time periods, Italy 1960’s and “Recently” in Hollywood and elsewhere. Most of the Italian portion takes place in a tiny village on the coast where young Pasquale dreams of turning his late father’s small hotel “The Hotel Adequate View” into a tourist draw that will finally put their tiny village on the map. One day a beautiful American actress arrives, she has gotten ill during the filming of “Cleopatra” (Richard Burton plays a key role in this novel, realistically portrayed)

What happens to these diverse characters as they collide and converge over the course of their lives will keep you reading long into the night. The once famous film producer, who as a young man was sent to ‘rescue’ the disastrous Burton/Taylor mess that was “Cleopatra”, and who bears a striking resemblance to Robert Evans (extreme plastic surgery) and ended up the puppetmaster behind the scenes of Richard Burton’s philandering. Dee, the beautiful actress who leaves the Italian coast,  and Pasquale, forever changed, and many other characters who are all searching for love and meaning in their lives and grow into people who can accept the mistakes of the past because they created a present they can live with. Imagine if you could make amends (or attempt to) for something in your past left undone?

A brilliantly written novel that is as entertaining as it is unexpectedly literary.

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“The Flight of Gemma Hardy” due January 24!

Many are referring to this novel as a ‘remake’ of “Jane Eyre”, but I just sat back & allowed myself to be enveloped in this beautifully written literary novel. Set in the 1960’s, Gemma is orphaned as a young girl and taken from her native Iceland to live with her uncle, aunt & cousins, she is embraced by all except her aunt who turns her into more or less a slave. Through hard work & intelligence she ends up graduating from boarding school and becoming an au pair on the Orkney Islands in Scotland, taking care of a troubled young girl and falling in love, until a dark secret is revealed that turns her life in a completely different direction. This would be a great book club choice!

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