The Goldfinch

The GoldfinchDonna Tartt has conjured up some critical controversy with her latest novel, The Goldfinch. While it has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014, the critics have been fighting over whether or not this book should be getting the accolades that is has. Read more about it in Vanity Fair.

But, controversy or not, it is a fascinating, enthralling story about Theo Decker. Theo’s troubles begin when, while visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother, the museum is blown up by terrorists, killing his mother, while  he barely escapes with his life, and with one of the most valuable paintings in the world, the Carel Fabritius masterpiece, The Goldfinch. His life takes on many twists and turns as he struggles to keep the painting hidden and ultimately find meaning for his own life.

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Summer House with Swimming Pool

Herman Koch, author of The Dinner, continues to intrigue us and challenge us in this multi-layered book. Koch incorporates psychological thriller with a deep look at relationships and inner motivations in this story.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy. (source)Z

Celia’s Song

Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who – despite being convinced she’s a little “off” – must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews. While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin’s granddaughter. Each one of Celia’s family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin’s granddaughter. Celia’s Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans. (source)9k=

Smoke River

Based on the unrest in Caledonia, Ontario where native land was being used for a housing development, this novel explores the many characters and issues at stake at the time. It is a fiction in every sense of the word, so the political aspects are muted and don’t overpower the character development and storyline.

But even if the story were not a gripping exploration of town/reserve relations, Smoke River would be a glorious read just for Foss’s imagery, which conjures up a hot, humid Ontario summer that seems to shimmer off the page: “Finally it arrives, the slightest mutiny of scent: sweet clover seeds, germinating in the backhoed earth, an insurrection of moisture beneath the drained and filled pond, an invasion of pollens breezing in off the river.” That connection to the land, which Shayna and Coulson share, is another powerful theme that permeates the novel. (source)Smoke River

The Dinner

The Dinner copyHerman Koch, an author from the Netherlands, writes a riveting novel about two families who meet for dinner to discuss an urgent family matter – their teenage sons are in big trouble. What will they do about it? How is it affecting their relationships? What are the consequences of their decisions? There are sinister undertones that make you wonder if you are getting a subjective view of the story.

The story delves into the nuances of using public media and the teenage propensity to share and brag. You can justify pretty much anything if you twist your reasoning enough.

A chilling similarity to this real-life story this April 2015.