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It's 1953 on the coast of Italy and Truman Capote throws a party. That's where we meet this beautiful and atmospheric novel's main characters, Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo. Add a young Swedish starlet whose own story extends to modern day New York. The glitterati and the literati mingle, as do the fact and fiction, in this heartbreaking novel by this marvelous novelist. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Everybody knows about lip-syncing. But fake playing? Believe it. In the early 2000's, the author made a living playing violin in front of dead microphones while loud recorded music by "The Composer" for whom she worked enraptured his adoring fans. In addition to being as kooky a true story as I have recently encountered, this is also a moving coming of age memoir. Hindman grew up in rural West Virginia, went to college at Columbia University, and wanted nothing more than to be a journalist in the Middle East. An expressive meditation on identity and authenticity. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Two unsolved crimes, unrelated, ten years apart but close enough in proximity (the same river twice no less) for the characters in the latest crime to bring painful memories back to the surface. The intersection of the two stories is expertly handled in Johnston's elegant prose. A page-turning mystery and a deeply moving story. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
I can't decide if Mineral County, Colorado is a piece of heaven or if it's actually heaven. Either way it is a wondrous Rocky Mountain paradise--a paradise beset by bitter cold, fires, various degrees of hardship and always exquisite beauty. Pam Houston has 120 acres of it and readers get a clear-eyed glimpse of life and death on the ranch in this marvelous combination of memoir and nature writing. Both deeply personal and wide-reaching, Deep Creek is about the human capacity to feel grief and joy all at once for the ground beneath one's feet and the planet as a whole. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
The similar collection from fourteen years ago is now inadequate. Hundreds of new cartoons spanning nearly ten decades are included in this newly conceived two-volume, slipcased edition in an encyclopedic format (P is for Pianos, U is for Unicorns...) From sidesplitting to smirk-inducing to head-scratching. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds