Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great Author, Great Reads

Years ago I read Chris Bohjalian's book Midwives. Amazing read. What impressed me was how well a male writer could capture a feminine first person voice. Was it the power of  his research and/or life experience? Great editing? He captured in gorgeously penned words the absolute terror and need for quick, decisive and no-going-back action in the setting of medical emergency (all taking place on a stormy, snowy March night in the "sticks").
Recently I "read" (in quotes when I listen to audio books in the car) two newer books written by this author and both caught me in a tight dance with the plot. Great storytelling, all the way to the end. In fact, I would recommend never reading the last page in Chris's books until you're at that point because the bombshells come alive in the last moments. Very cool. I had a friend once who would always look ahead when reading a book. Spoiler!

The Double Bind cleverly incorporates the story of The Great Gatsby, including the two children of Daisy and Tom Buchanan into present day modern life in upstate Vermont. I've not read a book quite like this which focuses on a variety of themes including the homeless, sexual assault, and mental illness (schizophrenia). Again, the firecracker goes off at the very end of the book, answering most but not all the big questions; some are left dangling intentionally and that in itself, brings greater power to this book. Wow!

I finished Secrets of Eden today on the drive to Spokane. This is a murder mystery, a love story, the horrors of spousal abuse all told from the perspective of  four characters narrating the tale after the strangling death of a woman and the suicide vs murder of her abusive husband. The plot builds and builds until the final few pages. Awesomely good and only in hardback but I found the audio book and the hard copy at the library. Weird to be listening during the day to the story and going home at night to read, in the traditional sense. That's how tightly this one held me.

Chris Bohjalian, you rock.

1 comment:

  1. What I've read of his, I like, but I haven't read these two. I will have to make a library run because they sound like books I could get into.


Leave a comment!