It is summer again in northern Michigan and it is perhaps, the most beautiful that I have ever experienced, or that may simply be that it is now and now is all there is. Writing has been a miniature roller coaster of procrastination, but I am involved in a writer's group again so at the very least I'm talking writing - if not doing much. Well fiction that is. I have written more articles than I care to remember at the moment, duty calling in the form of rent etc. so the keys have been clacking, just not the imagination. I have also read a seeming bookshelf of books and novels lately, ranging from spiritual guides to fictional mysteries. I will list some below with a short review.
Ula is still with the publisher waiting for edits. It is several books down the list and thus I have no publication update; however, this is preferable because my sequel is continuing to hover in the 15,000 word range. I have largely fleshed out the plot - at least in my mind - but the sand dunes and the bursting trees keep calling me away from my laptop and into the woods. I will return again to update, hopefully sooner than later, but I do so much personal journaling that this space gets sorely neglected.
Rose by Martin Cruz Smith: I loved this. It's a historical mystery with a good vein of romance and gives a plethora of information about coal mines in Lancashire during the late 1800's. Suspenseful plot, vivid characters and many twists.
The Little Friend by Donna Tart: I am a huge fan of Donna Tart's wordy, descriptive literary novels. I enjoyed this novel for about the first 300 pages. It then continued to drag on - largely commenting on scenery and decor with a mixture of psychological angst by the young protagonist. It could have been great, but as many literary novels do - it simply petered out with no resolutions or deeper understanding of the forces at work behind the characters' thoughts or the strange events occurring. For me, it lacked the magic of life and reduced the world to a series of images that felt flat. However, I still love Donna Tart and highly recommend A Secret History.
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles: This novel is a classic and is considered one of the great England novels published during the 20th century. It is very character-centric with frequent forays into the minds of the two mains - Port and Kit - as they travel deeply into the Sahara Desert. The foreshadowing was very obvious and somewhat cliched; however, for its time, it was exceptional. The landscape of Africa takes on a life of its own and becomes something of a nemesis and abusive lover for the two main characters. It was painfully indulgent with the characters' (often shallow) thoughts and preoccupations with themselves. Overall I enjoyed it.
Okay that is enough reviews for now - I will add more w/ my next post.