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What it's like to grow up in poverty. The shame of it, the struggles of one family in Vermont with illness, hard-line Catholicism, the loss of a job and coming of age. ~ Reviewed by Barbara Morrow
The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai, is definitely one of the most profound novels I’ve read recently. It’s focus is on the height of the AIDS epidemic of the mid 1980’s and centers around relationships that comprised the gay community in Chicago at the time. The story is complex, moving and devastating, exploring a culture most people are loathe to try to understand, thinking it messy, immoral, and easier to ignore. Named one of the ten best books of 2018 by the NY Times, The Great Believers is profound, unforgettable, and beautifully sad. ~ Reviewed by Barbara Morrow
An exquisitely written book about a Nigerian American caught between two worlds. Niru is a privileged senior at a prestigious private school in Washington on his way to Harvard, struggling with his sexual identity and his relationship to his conservative and very traditional Nigerian parents. It also explores his friendship with his best friend, who happens to be a girl who is in love with him. The denouement is devastating but totally believable, and leaves you breathless and saddened at our cultural response to “other”. ~ Reviewed by Barbara Morrow
A beautifully crafted novel, by the author of Cold Mountain, about one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve encountered in recent fiction. Based on historical research - letter, diaries, memoirs - much of Varina’s character is rounded out by Frazier’s brilliant imagination. The novel goes back and forth in time from pre-Civil War, through the actual war from the southern perspective, post-war, and up through the early 20th century. Family, marriage, slavery, race relations, battles lost, women's roles - all are explored stunningly here. ~ Reviewed by Barbara Morrow
A fascinating fictionalized version of the life of George Sand, from her troubled childhood to her rather scandalous life as a famous writer and an independent woman! ~ Reviewed by Barbara Morrow