by Sadie Jones. An author with a jaundiced view of life. This book is ironically laugh out loud funny. A madcap Twilight Zone. Jones also seems to have a love of old “piles”. Here a cherished country manor called Sterne in a remote English setting. As in Laurence? Anyway, despite a rationale for her character, the mother was horrid. As was the mother in Jones’ most recent The Snakes. Most of the men are fuzzy and wishy-washy. The women are conflicted yet strong. A bit retro. The train wreck is… Read more The Uninvited Guests →
by Elinor Lipman. A poor guy from a small New Hampshire town gets a bad rap. He’s an unwitting love-struck kid who shows a great deal of civility toward the woman he loves and her family. Yet they heap unwarranted vitriol on him. So there’s that. Then. Father and daughter end up in New York City four blocks apart in Hell’s Kitchen. They become enmeshed in each other’s sex lives. Yuck. Jeremy, a character on “Riverdale” has some spunk. Lots of dog-walking and poop-scooping. Oh. And there’s the central intrigue… Read more Good Riddance →
by Richard Russo. Pre-ordered as soon as I heard Russo had a new novel coming out. Couldn’t wait. Got it. Read it. If I didn’t see his name on the cover, this could have been written by any generic author this season. Disappointing. It did not have the rich descriptions of Russo’s classics like Empire Falls or even recently That Old Cape Magic. If he ever went to Martha’s Vineyard, it was clearly as a visitor. There was no depth of scene as in Upstate New York or even The… Read more Chances Are . . . →
2019 MANBOOKER LONGLIST The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Canada)/ Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (Ireland)/ My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK-Nigeria)/ Ducks Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (USA-UK)/ Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo (UK)/ The Wall by John Lanchester (UK)/ The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (UK)/ Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Mexico-Italy)/ An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)/ Lanny by Max Porter (UK)/ Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (UK-India)/ 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World by Elif Shafak (UK-Turkey)/… Read more Longlist 2019 →
by Cristina Alger. The stupid title has nothing to do with anything. The author wrote The Banker’s Wife which was an okay summer read. As is this “ripped from the headlines” mystery. Jeffrey Epstein and Long Island cops meet FBI agent daughter. Insider info or prescient? Anyway. Fun romp forking around familiar places. Very funny Mike Pence reference. Some twists and turns. Editing needs work, but a quick light beach read. Icky note: Dana Perino is a friend of the author and the dog in the story is named Jasper.
by Riley Sager. Apologies to Ira Levin. Guessed the plot a third of the way in. And. As an homage to Rosemary’s Baby in a faux Dakota building, not even close. None of the spine-tingling psychological characterizations. More a Rogue’s gallery of two-dimensional caricatures. A touristy terror tale of Central Park West and the Park. So. Very summer light.
by Sadie Jones. Not about snakes. Not really. Literally. Okay. Maybe a couple. And a skin. Mostly about bad parents (snakes). Rich slum-lord developer British patriarch and his slithering beauty of a wife. Racist gendarmerie in France. Inept, too. A ramshackle hotel. A mystery with a few red herrings. A dysfunctionally banal couple. Pretty cliché. But hey. It’s summer. A pretty good read. If you don’t like happy endings.
New York Times remembers Iris Murdoch: The Sea The Sea and The Black Prince are two of my favorite reads.