This big-hearted novel of family is full of lovable characters that feel like friends. Frankel deals with serious social issues and conflicts while keeping the tone light, striking an excellent balance between humor and empathy. I loved every page!
Highly recommended for book groups!
My new favorite Jim Lynch book! The boatbuilding family in this novel is imperfect and unpredictable, sometimes working together seamlessly, other times colliding and combustible, mystified by each other and their differences. Josh, the protagonist and middle child, is the last to leave the crumbling nest of the Teardown, while his siblings range around the world and his parents continue in more or less the same roles they have always filled. Lyrical passion for sailing is tempered by a realistic portrayal of the wandering dreamers who take up with it against all good judgment.
With a slow, deliberate pace and quiet tone, this debut novel is a captivating journey into the mind of a 57-year-old man whose lengthy solitude is broken only by his impulsive adoption of a wounded dog. In a small village on the coast of Ireland, these two lonely beings fall into orbit and provide solace and meaning for one another.
This literary wormhole links mid-20th Century Venice Beach, CA; Renaissance Venice, Italy; and the Venetian Hotel in modern Las Vegas in an enchanting tangle of plot lines. When I got to the end, I turned back to the beginning and started again!
A quiet, spare story of the enduring relationship between a taciturn taxidermist and his partner, set in the rural American south, this engrossing novel addresses fears of discovery and loss as well as sacrifices made in the name of love and companionship. A must-read for book clubs!
A group of strong, well-educated women gave up their own careers to follow their husbands to Los Alamos during World War II. Patriotism and blind faith conflicted with their desire to pursue their own dreams and be more than mothers and housewives. I devoured this one, and it is a great choice for book clubs.
Based on the true story of one of America's first female police officers, this rollicking period mystery is set in early 20th century New Jersey. When her buggy is run down by an automobile, the police do their best, but Constance Kopp takes matters into her own hands. It's a hoot!
This is a rollicking story full of lively characters, told in Evison's inimitable voice. Harriet Chance, at age 78, has lived a comfortable life since her husband died. When she finds out that he had booked an Alaskan cruise, she decides to go on an adventure, and her grown daughter tags along. FUN!
Set in Seattle, this novel immerses the reader in an exploded view of the WTO protests. By Challenging assumptions and creating empathy for police, protesters, a delegate, and a homeless teenager, this gripping story shows the convergence of a vast range of perspectives within a few city blocks.
Precocious, feisty, almost 8-year-old Elsa only has one friend: her granny. Granny has instilled in Elsa a belief that she is different, and that this is a good thing. Granny would know. From midnight zoo break-ins to shooting neighbors with her paintball gun, Granny's hijinks constantly antagonize those around her. As the story unravels, Elsa is given a task that compels her to get to know her neighbors and learn that everyone has a history. Heartwarming and hilarious in equal measure.
Beautiful, frank, honest, and funny - this is Miriam Toews at her best. Just when the heaviness of the story becomes too much to bear, she'll make a wickedly funny observation and take a deep breath. This was one of my favorite books of 2014.
This thought provoking novel explores the desperation and hope that bring four patients into an experiemental medical procedure in which new bodies are grown from their own cloned cells. In their fresh new bodies, they find that moving back into their old lives is more difficult that expected and face a host of challenges.
This novel opened my eyes to the challenges of parenting a child who will never life independently. How can two parents with differing ideas work together to privide a good environment for the child? Vividly drawn characters and a familiar Seattle setting make this a compelling read, and it will make an excellent book club choice.
Childhood memories and a trove of unsent letters fuel this emotional memoir about a mother who abandoned her family and the children who longed for her return. The author, now a mother herself, grapples with her own young daughter's questions, her mother's death, and the complex emotional life her mother never shared.
Captivating from the first page! Period details from 1930s Seattle form a rich backdrop for a timeless story of illicit love. Adults and teens alike will enjoy this historical novel. The characters of Love and Death add the perfect touch of magic and mystery, reminiscent of The Night Circus.
Early 19th century Charleston, SC, comes to life in this historical novel. Two compelling protagonists - one a slave, the other her reluctant young owner - come of age together, both trapped in their lives and longing for escape. This is an excellent choice for book groups with lots of great material for discussion.
In Ove's ideal world, everyone would follow the rules, act with integrity at all times, and drive a Saab. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has other ideas. Hilarious, heart-wrenching, and a little absurd, this novel won me over on the first page. The short chapters make this the perfect book to keep in your bag for spare moments in the waiting room or on the bus.
Set in the wild landscape of the Colorado Rockies, this taut literary thriller follows a family through the emotional kaleidoscope of a college-bound girl's disappearance. Hope and despair are perfectly balanced with heart-pounding suspense and insightful prose.
I'm absolutely enchanted by this book. The imagery is so vivid, the characters so human, their circumstances so perfectly rendered - I wanted to wallow in the gorgeous prose and bathe in the words. 2014 is a great year for ficition so far, but since I read an advance copy last summer, this novel has ruined me for all other books.
If I were someone who highlighted books, I would have marked several wonderful passages about books and libraries in the early chapters. This unorthodox coming-of-age tale follows a fragmented timeline and is populated by charming, eccentric characters whose voices stuck with me and made me laugh.
In this vividly imagined account of first contact between Jesuit priests and the Huron in the seventeenth century, Boyden depicts two distinct cultures on a collision course. His portrayal of the conflict feels even-handed and realistic, not glorifying either side. Rich with details about Huron customs, this suspenseful, thought-provoking novel brings history to life.
History's footprint seems larger than life in one context but fades rapidly in another as two brothers are separated by politics and distance. The unforseen consequences of rebellions both personal and political affect the lives of three generations in this gripping family saga set in Calcutta and Rhode Island. Haunted by the decisions of her youth and driven by regret, a woman must decide if happiness is more important than tradition and family.
The author's passion for food shines through in her personal and fun style, and all of the recipes sound delicious. I love the introductions to the recipes, which lean heavily on what's on hand or in season. This isn't just a book about food, though; her marriage and internal life carry equal weight with the development of the titular Seattle pizzeria.
Barely holding onto his job as a deli sandwich-slinger, drinking too much, and worrying about making the rent, Billy Ridgeway is a loveable loser. One morning, he peers through the haze of a hangover to find a well-dressed stranger in his apartment, launching him into some serious Weirdness. In spite of himself, Billy grows a little on his wild ride.
I devoured this book! I loved taking this journey with Alex, with all of its wacky twists and turns and philosophical meanderings. I chuckled all the way through. Though it has serious moments and themes, the overall tone is lighthearted. As a Kurt Vonnegut fan, I was skeptical of an author who would use his books as a plot device, but it works here and does justice to Vonnegut's ideas.
Triple Coconut Cream Pie, Serious Biscuits, Toasted Hazelnut Whole Wheat Scones with Maple Glaze, Grandma Douglas's Schnecken... Clear, concise recipes and mouthwatering photographs bring all of your Dahlia Bakery favorites home. YUM!
Everything you need to know about the throbbing heart of all things hipster, conveniently and concisely presented in one place! There's no need to read it from the beginning - just turn to a random page and learn about one of the many things that make Portland "the best city ever."
There were no real surprises in this book's plot, and yet I felt compelled to race through it anyway. It's an eerily transparent book about transparency, technology, and privacy in the age of the internet, and it keeps surfacing in my head months after reading it.
I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so aptly titled. This gorgeous little book is a mediation on what it means to be human and the small acts that can change the trajectory of a life. The sparsely worded, poetic images are like little nuggets of zen. I kept going back to lines and saying to myself, "Wow, I wish I'd thought to say it that way."
Approachable, engaging, and thought-provoking, this novel lived up to all of my expectations. Nuanced characters and qa perfectly rendered Seattle setting make this highly discussable book a joy to read.
This Seattle story highlights the challenges of the immigrant experience, the social climate of the depression, and the limited opportunities available to women in the 1930s. The urgency of childhood, the heart-wrenching decisions that parents must make, and the trials of poverty give this novel a solid emotional footing.
This lighthearted yet thorough look at cycling in Amsterdam strikes the perfect balance between cultural history and memoir. The author's enthusiasm for his topic shines as he explores his new home's relationship with the bicycle, from 1890s high-wheelers bumping over cobblestones, through the Nazi occupation, and into the modern day. Wonderful!
Werewolves not your usual cup of tea? Me neither - read this book anyway! It's a modern political thriller with a thoughtful premise and detailed, believable storytelling. Lycans and humans have lived in an uneasy peace for centuries when a terrorist attack threatens the balance. I loved every minute of it!
This book changed the way I think about the childhood obesity epidemic. I saw glimpses of myself in the judgmental acquaintances and well-meaning friends that made this mother-daughter story more difficult. I would love to see this book adopted as a community read, if only to start a real conversation about this pervasive issue. While I don't agee with all of the author's conclusions, I found her story thought-provoking and accessible.
Original, irreverent, quirky, sometimes sweet, possibly blasphemous, and often funny, this novel took me by surprise with its friendly voice and intriguing, charmingly flawed characters. Portland comes alive in all its glorious weirdness, as seen from the point of view of a motley band of cyclists, freaks, and zinesters. A great choice for fans of Tom Robbins, Hunter S. Thompson, Corwin Ericson, and Christopher Moore.
This gripping, emotionally taut novel explores tricky issues of Native American sovereignty and legal jurisdiction through the eyes of a teenaged boy. His mother has escaped her would-be murderer, yet refuses to reveal his identity or name the place of the crime even knowing that one small lie would put the perpetrator behind bars and keep her family safe. Erdrich demonstrates that as humans, we can find common ground in the intrinsic desire for security and justice.
Originally published in 1995, this introspective memoir explores Obama's quest for identity and the meaning of community. Put the pundits aside and read this insightful, thought-provoking, and uniquely American story.
The voice, plot, characters, and emotional range of this novel kept me vascillating between wanting to devour it in one sitting and savoring it over many days. It's an incredible exploration of the cathartic powers of grief, love, and healing - but it's also scattered with enough zany moments and quircky characters to keep it fun. Evison's best yet!
Coplin has captured a time when solitude was more common and more accepted as a way of life, and the rhythms of the seasons played a greater role. Subtle characters communicate through gesture more than dialogue, delivering a quiet intensity in this remarkable debut novel. I was completely transported.
One of the marks of great writing is the ability to draw me into a subject that otherwise would not interest me (in this case, Hollywood and its inhabitants). I enjoyed each of the characters and points of view equally, and the expertly entwined plot lines provided just the right amount of suspense and resolution. The landscape was so well drawn, I was left dreaming about running away to Italy. I look forward to reading more of this author's books.
This novel is a thoroughly enjoyable look at life in Seattle in 1962 and 2001, the booms and busts, with entrepreneurs and developers selling their outsized ideas to the worlds, from the Space Needle to the Gates Foundation. Likeable characters balance precariously between the excitement and trepidation of have the world's focus in 1962, and in 2001, a Pulitzer-hungry journalist tries to unearth a 40-year old scandal.
Grounded in the modern Middle East but bridging virtual reality, history, and mythology, this well-paced novel brings together a thought-provoking array of characters, each with a powerful moral compass that points in a slightly different direction. The suspenseful plot combines the diverse patterns of Haroun And The Sea Of Stories,Reamde , Un Lun Dun, and Jitterbug Perfume in a satisfying, original balance.
Summer 1918. The First World War is drawing to a close when Leon Le Gall, a French teenager from Cherbourg who has dropped out of school and left home, falls in love with Louise Janvier. Both are severely wounded by German artillery fire, are separated, and believe each other to be dead.
I read this charming book over the course of several work days, and I looked forward to my breaks so that I could spend time with Harold and his journey, soaking up the sharp observations of hectic modern life and enjoying the tight-lipped characters who rarely say what they really think. Harold's life has its share of sadness, but ultimately it is a life-affirming tale told in a whimsical style.
This was a satisfying read with a strong voice that was thoughtful, incisive, emotional, and unexpectedly funny. I could hear the Texans' voices and visualize the characters all the way through. The soldiers' tenuous mental states clashed with their ingrained discipline to create an anything-can-happen tension. The use of space and typography to represent buzzwords washing over Billy's mind worked perfectly. Sudden streams of consciousness at the intersection of politics and football reminded me of Hunter S Thopmson's 1970s political writings.
The first person plural voice works brilliantly in this stunning debut novel, giving life to three brothers who are often left to their own devices and are rarely shielded from their parents' difficulties. The spare style leaves much to the reader's imagination, as if the author trusts us to fill in the blanks. Outstanding!
I fell in love with the mysterious and magical world of of The Night Circus. When I finished the book, I just sat on the couch and stared at the cover, holding it in both hands, unwilling to let go, wanting the story to continue. Throughout the book I felt wide-eyed, dazzled, transported by vivid imagery to a world where anything is possible and not everything is as it seems.
Two solitary women, both wary of letting anyone too close, formed a bond at the dog park that turned into a unique, lasting friendship. This cathartic paean to a profound relationship explores the bond between two fiercely self-reliant women who traveled similar emotional roads before they met, then created a path all their own.
The reader grows along with Linda, the synesthetic protagonist, learning how to sort out the flavors from their corresponding words as this novel progresses. Themes of abandonment, alienation within the family, and fear of discovery provide a strong bond between Linda and her favorite uncle, but an equal strength surfaces in the relationship with her best friend and the power of the written word. Attention to detail in word selection and emotional nuance made this an astonishingly good read.
This beautifully written, powerful book on the history of cancer relates humanity’s surprisingly long quest to conquer the disease. Heartbreaking and inspiring, it traces the earliest known records of cancer written on Egyptian papyri to the modern day advent of chemotherapy while recounting the author's own experiences as a cancer physician. Good science books are hard to come by, great ones even more so. This is a book that should not be missed.
From the author of "The Shell Collector" comes an imaginative and diverse group of short stories, all exploring aspects of memory. With settings that range across four continents, these tales show our common fragility and quest for connection. Winner of a 2011 Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award!
Even the minor characters in this novel felt authentic and intriguing, fleshing out the story and environment. I could picture the small-town New England setting, where houses that have stood for generations get modernist additions as the suburbs encroach and fleets of immigrant laborers are dispatched to care for their expansive lawns. Above all, I loved Percy's voice, his slightly anachronistic vocabulary and manner, and his endearing refusal to play by anyone else's rules.
Gone are the days of blank spots on the map. When Bradford Washburn set out into the Alaskan wilderness, the areas that he explored were just that: vast uncharted regions of glaciers and snow-capped peaks. Not just a climber, Washburn is still regarded as one of the world's greatest mountain photographers; his photos are still used by climbers for route-finding. This is a must-read for any moutaineering enthusiast!
Unlike many cuisines, Burmese food does not require a hoard of expensive spices - most recipes include a few pantry staples (outlined in the "Burma Basics" chapter) added to fresh ingredients, and many can be concocted in 30 minutes. The clearly written, approachable recipes aren't intimidating, and they're interesting enough to expand the flavor horizons of an experienced cook. The Mandalay Carrot Salad is delicious!
Golden Richards is the father of 28 children and husband to 4 wives, and his life has begun to unravel as he works ever harder to maintain his sprawling family and keep his business afloat. Ultimately a story about the complexities, pressures, and joys of family, this novel is alternately heartrending and hilarious.
Thirty years in the making, this novel of the Vietnam combat experience is gritty, intense, and captivating from the first page. The riveting narrative takes the reader up and down the chain of command, creating empathy with nearly every character. Marlantes deftly demonstrates the ripple effect that small decisions can have, often to the detriment of those they were meant to help.
This is no slapdash follow-up to a bestseller; it is a thoughtful, nuanced treatise written by an eloquent, passionate author well versed in his topic. This is not a partisan political book (I honestly have no idea what party Marlantes might align himself with, if any), but a call to action for all of us to think about they way we treat our soldiers, why we send them off to war, and how they are reintegrated after their terms of service end. Like any great book, it provided me with a window on an unfamiliar world and a greater understanding of my fellow man.
This intriguing mother/daughter tale spans a broad emotional range, providing insight into cultural boundaries through believable characters and just the right level of narrative tension. Enjoy a journey through Japan, to Paris, and to San Francisco in the capable hands of this debut novelist.
The Nutty Broccoli with Mustard on page 257 is my new favorite way to cook broccoli! This book is an accessible introduction to Indian cuisine that only requires ingredients found in an average American grocery store.
I tore through this novel, picking it up at every spare moment, but the issues it brought to mind stuck with me long after I put it down. From the moment a widow decides to care for a stranger's child in 1968 to that child's adulthood and discovery of her past, the diverse cast of characters display the shift in America's attitude toward people with disabilities over a 40-year period. This will make an excellent book club pick!
A roller coaster ride from lucid to raving and back, this is a memoir of immediacy, immersing the reader in a world of emotional turbulence. From a childhood of abuse and neglect, through addiction and depression, to a sudden realization that she is capable of creating a loving family and forgiving her parents, the author's bold voice never wavers.
Ebbesmeyer's research is fueled by infectious curiosity and a love of science that makes this a fascinating, insightful, and accessible book. It's surprising to read a book about all the man-made stuff that's floating around in the oceans without a heavy-handed environmentalist message. Even in the final chapter, the author is not holier-than-thou; he just urges us to be thoughtful about the plastic items we use.
A yarn-spinner extraordinaire brings us a novel rich in detail and teeming with life. Two parallel stories converge in a small town across a century, populated by characters that are familiar but unique. Evison has an uncanny ability to bring his characters to life with just a few sentences.
Can a human outrun an antelope? Why would anyone run 100 miles through Death Valley in July? McDougall explores the limits of human endurance with humor and insight on his quest to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumora or "running people" of Northern Mexico. At the crossroads of science and philosophy, he finds some surprising answers.
Funny, informative , and easy to read. I loved the stories about the Chinese driver's license exam and the overall feel for the sometimes harrowing experience of driving in a country relatively new to car ownership. The three distinct sections come together to show the changing cultural landscape of China.
I could see the landscape of Central Oregon through the prose, and after reading this book I want to go out there and see it for myself. The author's style evokes her connection to the land but makes no bones about the harsh life of farming in winter and the difficulties that arise from the encroaching population and its demands on the land.
I love so many things about this book... It includes a chart of baking pan equivalents and a glossary of dessert types (pandowdies, buckles, slumps, etc). The recipes are given seasonally, so it will make a great companion to the gardener or farmers' market shopper. Each recipe has the total baking time and number of servings listed clearly at the top, and offers storage guidelines for each dish as well. I was so excited by the rhubarb recipes that I went out and bought 3 pounds at the farmers' market to try them all! The Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb was so tasty I made it twice in less than a week. It's equally good as a coffee cake at breakfast or a dessert. The candied ginger in the topping complemented the tartness of the rhubarb wonderfully. Mimi's German Apple Cake is a great last-minute dessert; it only takes about 15 minutes to put together and has a delicious combination of crumbly cake and juicy apples.
I recommend this book to anyone traveling to Alaska or going deep-sea fishing. These riveting adventure tales will definitely make you appreciate paying top dollar for crab legs!
I laughed in recognition of the eccentric bookstore staff and patrons. Hay's characters are vivid and unique, each heading in his or her own direction. I was torn between the urge to finish the book in one sitting and the desire to prolong and savor it. Haunting loneliness and the excitement of new friendships and experiences are well balanced in this vibrant story of self-discovery.
Among this novel's eccentricities you'll find attempts at time travel, a nosy chambermaid, an aging Nikola Tesla, and convalescing pigeons. I found it quirky and thoroughly enjoyable.
Bright, mouth-watering photos of each recipe make this book a joy to use, and - even better - my first few attempts have resulted in delicious food that looks just like the pictures! A glossary of ingredients (with photos) and a section on techniques (referenced within the recipes) demystify Indian home-style cooking.
Complex, imperfect characters find solace in each other as family secrets are revealed and relationships are tested. Trust and friendship overcome loss and regret. The characters are unique and authentic, lurking in my mind long after I finished the book. Sad but not depressing--I didn't want it to end!
This funny, heartwarming tale outlines Martin's personal and comic evolution from his first job at Knotts Berry Farm all the way to Saturday Night Live You'll finally find out where all that silliness came from!
Profusely illustrated with maps and diagrams of all sorts, this book kept me chuckling and shaking my head, turning the book sideways to read strange footnotes and study charts. Twelve year old prodigy T.S. Spivet's unique worldview brought me hours of delight, from his home on the Coppertop Ranch to his adventures in the larger world. Beautifully odd and intriguing, some plot elements were left dangling, leaving me in a state of wonder and pleasant confusion similar to the feeling I get from ...moreProfusely illustrated with maps and diagrams of all sorts, this book kept me chuckling and shaking my head, turning the book sideways to read strange footnotes and study charts. Twelve year old prodigy T.S. Spivet's unique worldview brought me hours of delight, from his home on the Coppertop Ranch to his adventures in the larger world. Beautifully odd and intriguing, some plot elements were left dangling, leaving me in a state of wonder and pleasant confusion similar to the feeling I get from Murakami's fiction (though the style is not at all similar)- sometimes you just have to accept the weirdness and move along.
This will make a great gift for your foodie friend who doesn't need another kitchen gadget. I'm smitten with this well-edited little book of food stories. Each story is followed by a recipe (or two or three) that fills out the narrative. Julia Child's "The Sauce & the Fury" is brilliant and lively, and "Orange Crush," a tale of Tang and longing by Yiyun Li, is not to be missed. The latter half of the anthology gets serious, putting aside the humor and leaning towards melancholy, but the stories are effective and round out the theme of food and emotion.
I was gripped from the first paragraph by this compelling, intricate portrait of a group of Egyptians living in Chicago. The author gives insight into the varied and personal range of Muslim belief and practice, and reflects on the far-reaching effects of corrupt governments. Political and personal, this book often feels more like a series of intertwined short stories than a novel.
Through the eyes of two young women, (one Turkish, one Armenian-American) Shafak explores some of the most vexing questions of our time. Are we responsible for the atrocities committed by our ancestors? What actions can the current generation take to heal the wounds of the past? Despite the deep themes, it's an enjoyable book full of energetic, fun characters.
Lighthearted and luminous, this portrait of the author's home city brought all of my senses to life. Scarpa had me fantasizing about crumbling masonry and travel by gondola, but at the same time gave caveats about the city's treacherous beauty.
In a charming voice, the author tells his family's story of trial by fire and resilience with boundless optimism and a self-deprecating wit. From the seed of an idea to the zoo's opening day, this book is full of funny anecdotes, including animal escapes, zoo license applications, and less-than-stable finances.
Join Martha Lessen in 1917 Oregon as she sets out looking for work as a horsebreaker and a place to call home. A charming pastoral novel free of sex and violence but full of memorable characters and (or course) horses.
The burgeoning jazz scene in Seattle's International District in the 1940s comes to life through the eyes of Henry Lee, a Chinese-American boy caught in the turmoil of increasing anti-Japanese sentiment at school, at home, and in the neighborhood. Bullied by his all-white schoolmates and shunned as a traitor by his Chinese peers, Henry finds friendship in unlikely paces and confronts the identity that his parents want for him. Forty-odd years later, Henry's wife has recently died, and he longs to bridge the communication gap with his college-age son. His story is pieced together beautifully through his perspectives as a son in the 1940s and a father in the 1980s.
I'm astounded by the precise language and slow, quiet intensity of this novel. The story of Milla and Agaat's complex relationship unfolds in Milla's three distinct voices over a lifetime spent on a rural South African farm. Through dated journal entries, short bursts of stream-of-consciousness, and second person narrative, Milla's tale provides a compelling portrait of a nation at war with its own ideals.
I enjoyed the vivid characters, many of whom are not given proper names (the potter, the mayor, the deputy, etc.). The feel of the story is somewhere between a fable and a slapstick comedy. You see the impending conflict and can't help but groan and laugh. The enjoyment comes from the way the conflict plays out. However, Valeria's desire to change her habits and the difficult choices thrust upon the potter build depth and interest.
This novel drew me in with language I could wallow in. The seafaring slang and Indian colloquialisms create a setting that disorients and intrigues at the same time. As soon as I'd finished this book I was ready to dive right into the next installment of the Ibis Trilogy.
Through the lens of a youth soccer team, "Outcasts United" offers glimpses of refugee life in the U.S. and the conflicts that brought these asylum-seekers to Clarkston, GA. Included are immigrants' stories as well as insight into the attitudes of long-time residents, many of whom resist and resent the changing demographics of their small southern town. No in-depth knowledge of soccer is necessary to enjoy this book.
Beautifully written, charming and hilarious, Junior's story will suck you right in. It's an extraordinary tale of a kid who defies convention and perseveres when the odds stack up against him. This book will resonate with anyone who's ever felt like an outsider. Great cartoons too!
The poems inserted between these stories are perfect breaks, preventing me from carrying one tale's plot and characters into the next without disrupting the flow of the book. As usual, Alexie pulls out the guts of the story and examines the entrails for truth.
Atkinson has captured the essence of the family meal, with a definition of family that includes those we choose to call family as well as those we were born with. He pays homage to the women who expanded the palates of American home cooks in the 20th century (Fisher, Child, Jeffrey, etc.) and includes a decadent, buttery fudge marble pound cake recipe that knocked my socks off!
I look forward to cooking more from this beautiful book. The French Onion Soup came out perfect: rich, hearty, and flavorful. The Butternut Squash Crumble tasted like Thanksgiving (the nexus of stuffing, sweet potatoes, and gravy on my plate), and my dinner guests raved about it!
This collection of linked short stories looks in on the unique community and experience of family life on an army base. A few of the stories are set overseas, but they deal primarily with the soldiers' relationships with those they've left behind and the often troublesome transition back to civilian life. The majority of the stories probe the inherent difficulties of having an absent spouse, with joys and sorrows that feel equally potent and honest.