Just Giblets

2014, The Year in Books, #’s 6 & 7

15th January 2015
by Michael

2014, The Year in Books, #’s 6 & 7

posted in 2014, Books, Year-end lists |

Other than being written by women, there’s not a whole lot in common with the sixth and seventh books on my list. One is from a well-known author that I’d never read, but she so charmed me at a Random House author breakfast, that I thought I’d give her work a try. The other was from an author whose previous novel was #5 on my list of best reads in 2012!  Interesting side note: my #6 novel could be considered similar to Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life which I found tedious and couldn’t even finish. Obviously, I would disagree.

lucky

Lucky Us

#7 – Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us is a new coming-of-age novel set in the 40s and 50s by best-selling novelist Amy Bloom. Eva is a young woman left by her mother at the home of her estranged husband, Edgar, on the day of his new wife’s funeral. There Eva meets her new big sister, Iris, with whom she runs away with as Iris seeks stardom in Hollywood. There they befriend Franciso, a gay hair and make-up man who helps Iris on her way up and subsequently down the Hollywood ladder before a surprise reunion with Edgar leads all three of them to Brooklyn where Eva settles into her life.

For the first half of the book, Eva is mainly a spectator in her the life of her family. Too young to work, unable to attend school, Eva helps her sister try to achieve her goals while carefully observing the vagaries of life. A series of sudden tragedies push Eva into a more active role in her own life, as she finds herself without a support system and people who are dependent upon her.

Through it all, Bloom keeps things light, even when dealing with difficult situations. She’s a great writer, using language that is clear yet beautifully composed, and creating voices that are unique and sympathetic. I had the privilege of seeing Ms. Bloom talk about her at the time forthcoming novel at Book Expo America last May and found to be utterly charming, strong-willed, and hilarious.


myreal

#6 – My Real Children by Jo Walton

Patricia is feeling confused today. At least that’s what the note by her bed tells her. In fact, at her advanced age, in the nursing home where she lives, she often feels confused and forgetful, but what’s she remembers distinctly are the two lives that crowd her memory. One where she married Mark and raised four children in a world that is at peace and has a colony on the moon; and another where she spent her life with her beloved Bee and their three children, on a beleaguered planet suffering from nuclear detonations and fatal fallout.

Jo Walton, whose last novel, Among Others is my afore-mentioned #5 read of 2012, spins a straight-forward, subtle tale of a woman’s life, or rather, two lives, and how a single decision can propel that life into two very different paths. And could that one person’s quiet, unassuming life also have major repercussions across the globe? Just like the theory that the flap of a butterfly’s wing can cause a hurricane halfway around the world, Walton wonders if a single decision could make the difference between peace and violence. Which life would you choose if given the choice?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 15th, 2015 at 7:24 am and is filed under 2014, Books, Year-end lists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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