Archive for November, 2016

Life Among Giants, by Bill Roorbach

November 21, 2016

[Lesley] Bill Roorbach has written a novel that is both similar to some of John Irving’s best (think A Prayer for Owen Meany or World According to Garp) and very much its own story. Narrated by the adult “Lizard” (David), the story spans from the 70’s to today and encompasses football, corruption, rock music, fame, mental illness, murder, world-class ballet, sex, family, and food. Lizard and his sister Kate grow up in a family of secrets and across a pond from a famous rock star, his equally famous ballerina wife, and his disabled son. Moving forward and backward in time, David relates the intertwined stories of his parents, his sister, the famous neighbors, the crimes suspected and confirmed (like the murder of his parents for one), and his own life as a pro football player turned restaurateur/chef. “Tangled” doesn’t even begin to describe the plot but we are deftly brought along, mainly learning things in the order that David did and getting all of the stories from his perspective. And, in the end, we only know as much as he does — which isn’t the whole truth by any means. This book is well-written and the characters are wonderfully introduced and developed. Not a murder-mystery since we always know who killed David’s parents, but there are many mysteries surrounding the motivations of many characters and maybe some even greater mysteries about why people behave the way they do.

I downloaded this audiobook through the library’s Hoopla subscription with my library card.

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The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

November 4, 2016

[Lesley]  Colson Whitehead is a crazy good writer. He writes stories so realistically, so seemingly true to life (past or present), but with the slightest surprising twists that change everything. This book tells the story of a slave girl/woman named Cora left behind as a child when her mother fled the plantation and who later becomes a fugitive herself, traveling via the Underground Railroad. This isn’t the exact Underground Railroad in our history books, however, and the places and communities she spends time in aren’t exactly what you would expect either. Telling the story slant doesn’t alter the “truth” of the fugitive slave experience – instead it intensifies it somehow.   Also recommended: Zone One by Colson Whitehead

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