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In his new novel, Dubus reveals character as expertly as I've ever seen it done. The three main characters--Susan, a writer and professor in her forties, her grandmother, a tough, hard-to-love antiques dealer in her eighties, and Susan's father, whom she hasn't seen since she was three years old--are linked by an unspeakable crime committed forty years ago. Through each of their stories, Dubus explores themes of love and anger, forgiveness and condemnation and perhaps most of all the capacity to love and be loved. This is a slow burn of a novel that gripped me from start to finish. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
A stupendous novel that is all at once mortifying, hilarious, and ridiculously smart. Our anti-hero, a hedge fund manager named Barry Cohen, is running away (via Greyhound bus) from his loveless marriage and his autistic son with only a small suitcase containing some of his favorite obscenely expensive wristwatches. He is Jay Gatsby written by Jack Kerouac and he knows it. The first Great American post-Obama novel. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
A superb read-aloud for smart pre-schoolers and other youngsters. These captivating siblings know how to occupy themselves on moving day. They have three imagination-filled adventures--at sea, at the museum and in outer space. Brimful of humor, great vocab words, and wonderful illustrations. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Reading this marvelous book is like sitting down at the kitchen table with one great storyteller spinning family tales (some of which have to be at least half-tall) while another great storyteller (his mother) makes the best biscuits you've ever had in your life. I could sit there all day listening and eating.
Bragg writes like a person born to the art. His mother, however, had to learn to cook. And she did...from her mother who was also not blessed with native culinary talent. She learned from her intractable, hermit of a father-in-law who descended from the hills to save his son from starving. I don't know what was more savory, the stories or the recipes, but I loved every bit of this book and am only sorry I may never actually get to sit in Rick Bragg's mother's kitchen.
While reading this book I was inspired to make a batch of biscuits for my family. Margaret Bundrum Bragg would not have been impressed. She might has said something along the lines of "Well." ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Tommy Orange has written a brutal and beautiful novel about the Native American experience in contemporary America that will open eyes and minds. It will simultaneously break and expand hearts. Most readers will not have heard a voice like his or a story like this. This is a story about Native Americans who strongly identify with their tribes. But they do not live on federal lands in South Dakota or other western states. This is a story about the urban Native American experience. The setting is Oakland. The many characters and plot lines weave their way to a final destination at an annual powwow in Oakland. I have never read anything like it. Tommy Orange’s writing is confident and utterly original. It seems impossible that this is his first novel. Sometimes--rarely—you feel privileged to have encountered a novel. There There is that rare novel. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds