Danny’s growth process through Barracuda raises questions about the nature of what it means to be a ‘good’ and self-fulfilled person, about marginality and the politics of difference – in terms of race, sexuality, and capability, about notions of ‘home’ and nationality (and not only with respect to migrants, though the migrant perspective is strong), how we make meaning in our life even when our dreams falter, the notion of privilege, and questions of class. All of these things are handled subtly and powerfully, through dichotomies that play out naturally through the course of the narrative.
The characters in Working Stiffs don’t openly embrace the company’s mean-spirited, oppressive, or murderous policies. They get talked or lulled into them. Out of exhaustion, fear, or basic survivalism, they accept their superiors’ language and logic—however it comes. In “Eyes to Wonder, Tongues to Praise,” the narrator, Baker, learns that he’s bound for a promotion but only because his buddy is getting canned. Baker has to keep it secret, and it eats him up. He’s riddled with anxiety, but he manages the discomfort and accepts his own complicity.
The author of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair talks about his first American novel, about its New England setting, about the structure of the book, his inspirations, about the Nabakov connection, his characters, about the popularity of fiction about academics, his detour into law, the writers he admires and lots more.
Personal Effects is the story of a couple on the move –repeatedly changing country in search of work, exiled and migratory, homeless yet rooted through their sense of family; of consistency in their relationship. Beyond that the story explores what we lose and what we gain, throughout any ordinary life. It explores the shifting and cyclical perceptions of time passing, and it examines, in a deep, poetic way, the way we make meaning out of our lives.
Heather Brittain Bergstrom’s novel is outstanding for its evocation of place. In a promotional interview, she notes that she was born and raised in Moses Lake, Washington, between two large Indian reservations, the Colville and the Yakama. Now living in northern California, she sometimes longs for the Pacific Northwest’s rugged, open landscapes, cowboys, Indians, wind, sage, large rivers, dams, and miles of “nothingness.”
We have a copy of the newly released 25th anniversary edition of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan to giveaway. To win, just sign up for our Free Newsletter.
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We have a copy of I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira to giveaway. To win, just sign up for our Free Newsletter.
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Schnitzler’s prose in Anthea Bell’s luminous translation can best be described as spare and poetic. Every detail seems not only important but necessary. There is a precision of scene and expression. Not a single word is wasted.
We have a copy of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova to giveaway. To win, just sign up for our Free Newsletter.
The winner will be drawn on the first of February 2014 from subscribers who enter via the newsletter. Good luck!