Okay, I have given up on the idea of doing full reviews of any of the books I read in 2011 but have yet to review. I’ve decided to just present them with some quick thoughts on each. I’ve arranged them by my star rating, starting with five stars.
Yeah. This. This was really, really good. The Faehmel family is a German family living near Colonge. Heinrich, the family patriarch, loved to the city when he was a young man to pursue a career as an architect. His son, Robert, was conscripted into Germany’s army during WWII to be a demolition expert. The book’s events are all over one day, Heinrich’s 80th birthday, but much of the story is told in flashbacks. Old acquaintances pop up, the past and present bleed together.
Melville House sent this to me for participating in The Art of the Novella Reading Challenge
To the End of the Land, David Grossman. Translated from Hebrew.
My book club decided to read this back in September. I actually ended up moving before we met to talk about it, which is probably a good thing because it took me forever to read. I just could not get into it, for some reason. I don’t know if it was just my mood, or what. This book was INTENSE, and I was under a lot of stress at the time, so it just didn’t seem like a good fit. There is some beautiful writing here, but the emotions were so raw that sometimes it was hard to read. I mean, it’s about a woman who thinks her son is getting out of the army and then he volunteers to go back for one last mission. She’s convinced that if she doesn’t go home, there will be no one for the “informers” to tell that he’s hurt – or worse. So she goes for a walk – a really long walk – with an old friend.
Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones.
The story of a bigamist and his two families, only one which knows of the other. Heartbreak galore, just what I like.
Shadow Tag, Louise Erdrich.
I realized that I’ve never really read anything by Native American writers (that I can remember), so when I saw this book about a wife who is keeping two journals because she discovered her husband was reading one of them, I couldn’t resist picking it up. I’m glad I did, because it was excellent. The couple has an incredibly complicated, tumultuous relationship, which was difficult to read about at times. You want things to end on a happy note, but perhaps that’s too much to ask for.
Sula, Toni Morrison.
If I had read this at another time, it probably would have been a 5 star read. However, I picked it up not long after finishing Toni Morrison’s A Mercy on audio, which completely blew me away. This was a wonderful book, but not *quite* as good as A Mercy, so it gets 4 stars. The gist – two girls grow up as best friends in a small town in the midwest, facing the limits of their gender, class, and race. The writing will take your breath away.
I won this in a publisher’s giveaway hosted on S. Krishna’s Books