10 year-old Elvis, her older sister, Lizzie, and Dad flounder following the drowning of "Mom." Boomer, the beloved family dog, Ernie, the adopted parrot, Lizzie's risky sleepwalking and Elvis's zoo volunteering add both levity and heaviness to this grieving family. Mom baked rabbit cakes to celebrate just about everything, and Lizzie manically proceeds to bake 1,000 rabbit cakes to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Crammed with heart-wrenching and hilarious scenes, this upended family copes with love AND many delicious rabbit cakes!
Sally Rooney reminds me of a millennial Neil Labute; she packs her novel with characters who are all driven by instinct and seem utterly powerless to their base emotional compulsions, often relishing the surrender with nominal regard for consequences. Objects of affection become objects of derision in a story told with a lacerating wit and jarringly raw honesty that make it breathlessly compelling.
Easily my favorite book of 2017, Goodbye, Vitamin is full of jaunty wit that never feels twee and packs its fair share of emotional punches that startle the reader but never leave a bruise.
"My theory is that loneliness creates the feeling of haunting."
This passage from Clemmon's' debut novel perfectly conveys the book's ghostly effect. Written with a sparseness that disguies its depth, What We Lose tackles the heady themes of belonging and familial legacies with a power and style that engages, provokes and moves the reader.
Waclawiak's second novel is a scathing send-up of the pharmaceutically drowsy morals and manners of the upper crust and their offspring's politicall correct rebellion that never leaves the safety of the golf community gates.
Too funny to consider it a polemic but cutting too close to the bone of contemporary America to feel like a spoof, it is a timely and tightly-drawn yarn.
I once witnessed a truck hit a deer on the highway. I was compelled to watch, equal parts horrified and riveted, as the deer flew into the air, and its neck snapped. I had similar feelings about this book. Enjoy.
Capturing New York during its Giuliani inflection point, beautifully juxtaposing the atmosphere and protagonist to illuminate the character's evolution out of adolescence. The book's clarity, humor and energy are all so distinctly of that time and perfectly rendered that its effect for any reader who lived in New York City as it teetered at the precipice of becoming a capitalist amusement park will be left viscerally shaken.
What makes a masterpiece? In a career as prolific, eclectic and adventurous as Percival Everett's, his body of work the very definition of singularity, it may even be foolish to hint one book is superior to another. And while it might be brazen to assert So Much Blue may be that magnum opus, it is an accusation i gleefully declare. A blissfully precise pen firmly draws the reader into the life of Kevin Pace in his quest for absolution and closure and the novel's three timelines kept deftly aloft by Everett's signature humor and nuanced storytelling.
This is the novel I wanted The Girls to be. What Buntin's novel lacks in flair and fanaticism it makes up for in its shrewd and sympathetic examination of the arrogance and exaggerated angst that makes adolescence such an electrifying study.
Each story here feels like it is dressed in a color that doesn't exist in nature. They feel familiar, somehow, but with an effect of feeling slightly left of center, rattling your expectations.
As the stories progress, they feel increasingly tighter with a strengthening emotional punch that will leave the reader breathless.