Tackling reviews, catching up on reading and incredibly relieved that we aren’t being hit as bad as they predicted by Dorian. Thinking of the people in the Bahamas who are going to need a lot of help in recovery. I’ve been through a lot of Hurricanes growing up on the Space Coast and typhoons when we lived in Okinawa, Japan but what hit them is unfathomable. Today it is off the coast, right by us, now we wait for the heavy winds and rains. For now, just waiting but not going to be as bad. Reviews to follow throughout the week, so long as we keep power, looking like we should.
As I spend a lot of time searching for books to feed my reading addiction, I am always tickled by interesting titles. I reached out to Two Dollar Radio for an arc of The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apenik but not just for the title alone, though what a title! The synopsis is as follows, as can be found here, at their website: https://twodollarradio.com/products/deeper-the-water
It’s 16-year-old Edie who finds their mother Marianne dangling in the living room from an old jump rope, puddle of urine on the floor, barely alive. Upstairs, 14-year-old Mae had fallen into one of her trances, often a result of feeling too closely attuned to her mother’s dark moods. After Marianne is unwillingly admitted to a mental hospital, Edie and Mae are forced to move from their childhood home in Louisiana to New York to live with their estranged father, Dennis, a former civil rights activist and literary figure on the other side of success.
The girls, grieving and homesick, are at first wary of their father’s affection, but soon Mae and Edie’s close relationship begins to fall apart—Edie remains fiercely loyal to Marianne, convinced that Dennis is responsible for her mother’s downfall, while Mae, suffocated by her striking resemblances to her mother, feels pulled toward their father. The girls move in increasingly opposing and destructive directions as they struggle to cope with outsized pain, and as the history of Dennis and Marianne’s romantic past clicks into focus, the family fractures further.
Moving through a selection of first-person accounts and written with a sinister sense of humor, The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish powerfully captures the quiet torment of two sisters craving the attention of a parent they can’t, and shouldn’t, have to themselves. In this captivating debut, Katya Apekina disquietingly crooks the lines between fact and fantasy, between escape and freedom, and between love and obsession.
I’ve already devoured the copy I was sent and in a few weeks intend to share my review, it won’t be available until September 18, 2018 but it’s one to add to your TBR list. Kata Apekina is a fantastic writer, one I look forward to reading more of.
Imagine my surprise that included in the package was a copy of two other books I’ve got on my reading list. The Blurry Years by Eleanor Kriseman and The Underneath by Melanie Finn. Finn’s review I will share this week, as it’s available now. The Blurry Years I am digging into tonight. More on that title below shared from their website, found here: https://twodollarradio.com/products/blurry-years
The Blurry Years is a powerful and unorthodox coming-of-age story from an assured new literary voice, featuring a stirringly twisted mother-daughter relationship, set against the sleazy, vividly-drawn backdrop of late-seventies and early-eighties Florida.
Callie—who ages from six to eighteen over the course of the book—leads a scattered childhood, moving from cars to strangers’ houses to the sand-dusted apartments of the tourist towns that litter the Florida coastline.
Callie’s is a story about what it’s like to grow up too fast and absorb too much, to watch adults behaving badly; what it’s like to be simultaneously in thrall to and terrified of the mother who is the only family you’ve ever known, who moves you from town to town to leave her own mistakes behind.
With precision and poetry, Kriseman’s moving tale of a young girl struggling to find her way in the world is potent, and, ultimately, triumphant.
Naturally, I am drawn to coming of age stories of struggle and triumphant, that Callie stays in Florida tourist towns makes it that much more appealing having grown up there. The Blurry Years will be out July 10, 2018.
The Underneath is available now. From two dollar radio https://twodollarradio.com/products/underneath
With the assurance and grace of her acclaimed novel The Gloaming—which earned her comparisons to Patricia Highsmith—Melanie Finn returns with a precisely layered and tense new literary thriller.
The Underneath follows Kay Ward, a former journalist struggling with the constraints of motherhood. Along with her husband and two children, she rents a quaint Vermont farmhouse for the summer. The idea is to disconnect from their work-based lifestyle—that had her doggedly pursuing a genocidal leader of child soldiers known as General Christmas, even through Kay’s pregnancy and the birth of their second child—in an effort to repair their shaky marriage.
It isn’t long before Kay’s husband is called away and she discovers a mysterious crawlspace in the rental with unsettling writing etched into the wall. Alongside some of the house’s other curiosities and local sleuthing, Kay is led to believe that something terrible may have happened to the home’s owners.
Kay’s investigation leads her to a local logger, Ben Comeau, a man beset with his own complicated and violent past. A product of the foster system and life-long resident of the Northeast Kingdom, Ben struggles to overcome his situation, and to help an abused child whose addict mother is too incapacitated to care about the boy’s plight.
The Underneath is an intelligent and considerate exploration of violence—both personal and social—and whether violence may ever be justified.
I finished this novel last night, I will be sharing my review soon, available now!
Watch this space for reviews of all three novels.
There are a lot of fantastic reads being published through Spring and Summer. Of the many titles in this list I have reviewed the following.
Motherhood by Sheilia Heti explores the pressing questions surrounding becoming a mother. If one should or shouldn’t, how it changes a woman when she becomes a mother, what it means if she doesn’t. It is a different book depending on the stage of life a woman is in, thinking if I had read it in my twenties, I would have had different feelings. It’s a conversation I think many women have in their own heads. It will be out May 1, 2018
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh is one of the strangest reads I’ve enjoyed this year. I haven’t posted my review yet, but I will say our pretty and privileged narrator has lost will and is simply living in a stagnant state. Is it because she lost her parents and is still grieving? Is it the state of the world? Most of us don’t have the means to curl into hibernation, and if we tried the world would push its way in as it’s want to do. She isn’t even driftwood, she is broken down in a daze of prescription pills. Will she ever wake up?
Tin Man by Sarah Winman which I also am set to review is a heartbreaking ‘almost’ love story. It begins with a boyhood friendship between Ellis and Michael and moves ahead to Ellis mourning the loss of his wife. It is a tale of haunting love, of what may have been, of what was. Many readers have fallen hard for this forthcoming novel, as have I. I absolutely loved “When God Was a Rabbit”.
The debut fiction is fantastic too.
We Own the Sky by Luke Allnut had me choked up. Rob Coates had the perfect life, a beautiful wife and son until a devastating illness. We know he no longer lives with his wife and son, but the why slowly unravels, as painful as pulling a bandage off a festering wound that will never heal. He is lost, everything he loves is gone and it is on weak legs he is trying to make a life worth living again. Get your tissues ready.
This I Know by Eldonna Edwards is another fissure in the heart. Grace Carter is a special child, one that has a gift or if her Evangelical pastor father is to believed a curse that comes from evil. It’s a sin to know things, but how do you ‘unknow’ them? How could intuition be evil, surely if God made her, then he created her with this knowing! She sees the tragic events that will befall her family, but she has good premonitions too. She has a bottomless despair when she loses her twin brother, and yet there is beauty in his otherworldly presence, but when her mother has a breakdown, things descend into hopelessness. Will the people of her small town who are weary of her ever let her in? This is a story I needed, uplifting.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage is sure to get under your skin. This is a thriller but more horror for me, I can’t think of anything worse happening and I had mixed feelings about the adults and the mental illness angle, but with that aside it is shocking and definitly a book people will talk about. Bad Seed, Evil, Illness? It’s hard to say. It is well written and I am curious to see what other books Zoje Stage will pen. This was like a crash you don’t want to look at but can’t help yourself. Whatever your feelings you still need to finish it!
There are other titles I haven’t read yet but look forward too. It’s a great season for reading, no doubt!
I know we bloggers get our hands on these all the time, but I always like to support the Publishers Lunch and write about what ‘reads’ I’m longing to be fed over the upcoming months.
I read Janet Fitch’s forthcoming novel The Revolution of Marina M. I can’t wait to review it, if you have an interest in the Russian Revolution it’s perfect for you.
Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv sounds promising.
I don’t often read young adult fiction but I enjoyed Hilary Reyl’s novel Lessons in French, her latest about a boy in France living on the autism spectrum interests me. I can be picky about such novels though as my own son is on the spectrum, so I can’t bare anything written as if read from a textbook, where the character isn’t real. I haven’t requested the arc, but it’s on my to read pile.
One of the books I’m really interested in reading is The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak. It’s said to be The Help meets Dead Man Walking and from the excerpt sample, I’ve already been moved.
Donna Everhart’s forthcoming novel The Road to Bittersweet has been on my radar for months. I absolutely devoured and loved The Education of Dixie Dupree.
Decent reads on the way for November/December My TBR pile is enormous! Happy Day
I promised reviews but with clean up, working ourselves into dehydration and the 7 day power outage it became a huge obstacle. My husband ended up admitted to the hospital and when I went to get him the next day I got sick and ended up in urgent care with an iv. We decided upon his release to escape to a hotel and got much needed air conditioning, naturally next to the theme parks they had power but unbelievably the next morning on a whim I opened the curtains to…. a tour bus on fire underneath the power lines (I have photos). No one was on it, we called 911, but I kept praying ‘please don’t explode and please… please do not take out the power.’ Stranger things do happen folks. Back home, all is well and I promise reviews tomorrow! Sigh…. I have to admit I spoke too soon last week about everything being good.
Irma went through and really hit Brevard County hard, we don’t have power yet, but have been running the generator. Today we have cable and internet so happy day I can review again, of course- the heat is insane until power is fully restored. It’s been rough. Trees down, so there will be a long clean up. Just thankful. Watch this space, reviews over the next few days
Gone, he is gone and now it’s clean up time but reviews to follow soon! I have power.