Book Review: An American Marriage

Book Review: An American MarriageAn American Marriage
by Tayari Jones
on February 6th 2018
Pages: 320
Published by Algonquin Books
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural

Named an Oprah’s Book Club Selection.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

My Takeaway “Human emotion is beyond comprehension, smooth and uninterrupted, like an orb made of blown glass.” Tayari Jones, An American Marriage An American Marriage is worthy and amazing! Jones is a poetic, phenomenal, and captivating writer (the hype is real mi gente). Caution: the novel will weave…

Book Review: The Stolen Marriage

Book Review: The Stolen MarriageThe Stolen Marriage
by Diane Chamberlain
on October 3, 2017
Pages: 384
Published by St. Martin's Press
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

My Takeaway “Even though I couldn’t have him or touch him or talk to him or even look into his eyes. I needed his presence. I needed him close by.” Diane Chamberlain, The Stolen Marriage You know a book is good when you contemplate taking the day…

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Euridice GusmaoThe Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao
by Martha Batalha, Eric M B Becker
on October 10th 2017
Pages: 240
Published by ONEWorld Publications
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband's professional success grows, so does Euridice's feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects - from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town - but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a wildly inventive, wickedly funny and keenly observed tale of two sisters who, surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, assert their independence and courageously carve a path of their own in 1940s Rio de Janeiro. A deeply human and truly unforgettable novel from one of the most exciting new voices in world literature.

My Takeaway “When Euridice set her mind to something, the rest of the world became smoke.” The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, Martha Batalha, (Translated by Eric M.B. Becker) The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a humorous and quirky novel. What originally caught my attention was…

Book Review: The Immortalists

Book Review: The ImmortalistsThe Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
on January 9th 2018
Pages: 352
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genres: Literary Fiction

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

My Takeaway Every once in a while a book comes along that touches my soul. The Immortalists is one of those books. The novel is beautifully written and a phenomenal literary work. As a reader, I was transported and made a part of the journey with the Gold siblings: Simon…

Book Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Book Review: Sing, Unburied, SingSing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
on September 5th 2017
Pages: 285
Published by Scribner
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

My Takeaway “Sorrow is food swallowed too quickly, caught in the throat, making it nearly impossible to breathe.” Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing Though I finished this book days ago, I have taken my time writing this review because I want to do it justice. Sing, Unburied, Sing is unlike…