Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ghost Stories: Old and New

In less than a month, recently, I read three novels with a ghostly element.

In Anne Tyler’s A Beginner’s Goodbye , the visits of his wife’s ghost allow a widower to resolve his personal issues and move forward. The exquisite characterization portrays the man and woman and ghost, the nature of their marriage, and how his growth arc is affected by the ghost.
Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place, first published in 1960, is the story of two new ghosts who find each other when they’re buried in the same cemetery and a middle-aged man who has been hiding there for nineteen years to escape his troubled life. The unique interaction of the characters makes a very compelling read.
In The Cove by Ron Rash, the cove setting was believed to be haunted which precipitated many events of the story.
In Tyler and Beagle’s stories, the interaction between the ghost and human’s are somewhat similar, although the wife-ghost is much more in the background than the two new ghosts, who have their own arcs and interaction.
Rash personified the cove so it affected the characters’ lives, as well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Fiction: Late April and May 2012

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani- Harper: HarperCollins, April 2012, 448p
A young couple meets in their home country of Italy but is separated when he is forced to go to America. They meet again, just when he has enlisted to serve in WWI. The story continues over several generations.

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge- Amy Einhorn: Putnam, April 2012, 304p
Wealthy Faith Bass emerges from a thirty-year seclusion on the last day of the millennium and starts selling everything she owns. Broad themes deepen the story but the narrative remains light-hearted.

A Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel by Cash Wiley- William Morrow, April 2012, 320p
A literary thriller about two brothers in North Carolina who must confront the reality of evil in their community.

Overseas by Beatriz Williams- Putnam, May 2012, 464p
A Wall Street analyst’s boss is smitten with her and just as suddenly cools off. The reason for the
reversal lies in the people they were in another time and place. Their transcendent relationship is threatened by external events.

The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey - Knopf, May, 2012, 288p
A literary novel by an award-winning author about a woman whose boss enables her to work through her grief over her lover’s death by assigning her to a solitary research assignment. She discovers the journals of a 19th century Englishman and becomes immersed in his quest for the production of an automated toy for his invalid son.