Archive for the ‘Novel Authors’ Category

Examining a Passage from The Goldfinch

March 26th, 2014 | Blog, Craft, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews, Process | 8 Comments

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch 

I posted earlier on the brilliant, beautiful novel The Goldfinch.  I had to do so in broad swaths, given how dense in character and plot the novel is, just to give you a taste of it. But now I want to go back and drill down on just one passage, to analyze what makes the writing—to me, at least—so marvelous. There are so many paragraphs I could choose, but I was particularly taken with the following description of how Hobie, the furniture restorer who takes in the young, homeless Theo, trains him in the art and craft … Read More

The Goldfinch: A Brilliant, Beautiful Novel

March 13th, 2014 | Blog, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 6 Comments

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

A friend and I were talking about hyperbole in book blurbs and reviews the other day (I confess I don’t mind a little hyperbole concerning my books).  He told me about Rich Bass’s blurb on the back cover of Cold Mountain when it came out: “It seems possible to never want to read another book, so wonderful is this one.”

I’m not willing to go that far. But after Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, I suspect it will be a long time before I read another novel that is as brilliant and beautiful as this one.

The GoldfinchRead More

The Silent Wife: A Fascinating Novel Both Psychologically and Technically

March 4th, 2014 | Blog, Craft, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 6 Comments

The Silent Wife I first became interested in The Silent Wife in when I read an August 4th, 2013  piece in The New York Times. The article described how the novel—a “sleeper,” written by an “unknown” Toronto writer and released as a paperback original (as opposed to a hardcover, which signals the publisher intends to push the book)–had vaulted its way onto The New York Times best-seller list. The book received some crucial attention from a handful of reviewers, and caught on via word of mouth.

I read that the author, A.S. A. Harrison, had died of cancer at 65, a few … Read More

THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION Wins Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Award in Suspense Category

October 4th, 2013 | Blog, Novel Authors, Self Publishing | 43 Comments

“And next, The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of 2013 in the Suspense Category goes to . . . THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, by Paulette Alden!”

Little old moi won?!

Little old moi won?!

I jerk awake when I hear my name. I had dropped off during the announcement of other awards— “Best Indie Logo that Doesn’t Involve An Animal”; “Best Indie Absolute-Last-in this-Series–I Promise!”; “Best Indie Thriller In Which No One Gets Killed”; “Best Indie Romance In Which No One Gets Laid . . .”

“Did they say me?” I frantically ask my husband sitting next to me. “Did I … Read More

A Hologram for the King: a Terrific Novel by David Eggers

September 30th, 2013 | Blog, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 2 Comments

Hologram for the KingI read a terrific novel while I was on vacation: Dave Eggers’s Hologram for the King.  Since I bought the paperback in the Newark Airport, Terminal C, which is the coldest waiting area I’ve ever experienced,  it was good to read a book set in the blazing heat of Saudi Arabia.  It also made a great trip book; it’s written in short sections that zip right along, perfect for reading on the fly, so to speak.  Its considerable strengths lie in its deceptively simple, effective prose; its main character, Alan Clay, a modern day Willie Loman; and Egger’s brilliant … Read More

Colum McCann’s Beautiful Sentences in TRANSATLANTIC

July 31st, 2013 | Blog, Novel Authors | 8 Comments

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

I just finished reading TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann.  His novel, Let the Great World Spin, is one of my favorites.  I’m still processing TransAtlantic. It’s a dense, layered, complicated novel, moving through centuries, a large cast of characters, and a number of settings.  There’s a lot to keep up with.  I couldn’t even begin to synopsize the plot for you; there are so many stories.  I don’t think I could reduce it to a review, nor do I want to–at least not now.

McCann lays down one honed sentence after another, like perfect … Read More

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers: a Mixed Review

March 7th, 2013 | Blog, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 8 Comments

The Yellow Bird by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Bird by Kevin Powers

I’ve been putting off writing a review of The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers’ novel about the Iraq war.  It was a finalist for the National Book Awards, and one of the The New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012.   I feel conflicted about it.  In some ways it is a stunning book; and yet by the end I felt it was seriously flawed. I feel both guilty and insecure about my assessment.  I see on the dust jacket the high praise it has garnered from writers like Alice Sebold, Colm Toibin, Anthony … Read More

Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

November 1st, 2012 | Blog, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 6 Comments


Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

I hardly ever listen to books on tape, which I regret and keep meaning to remedy.  However, knowing I had a four plus hour drive ahead of me to Madeline Island in Northern Wisconsin, I dashed into our small, neighborhood library the day before I was to leave to see if I could get a book on discs.  The pickings were very slim; I almost gave up.  But then I saw Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi.  I remembered vaguely reading a review of it when it came out, which Read More

Tony Earley and “Jack and the Mad Dog”

October 22nd, 2012 | Blog, Memoir Authors, Novel Authors | 6 Comments


Tony Earley

As soon as I saw that Tony Earley had a short story in the October 1, 2012 issue of The New Yorker, I sat right down and read it.  This was An Occasion for me.  I’m a big Tony Earley fan, based on two of his books: Jim the Boy, a novel published in 2000, and Somehow Form a Family: Stories That Are Mostly True, 2001, a collection of autobiographical pieces about his Southern upbringing.  I love his writing, which is lyrical, full of wonderful Southern details familiar to me, and deceptively simple.  He Read More

Colm Toibin’s BROOKLYN: the Self-effaced Writer

September 19th, 2012 | Blog, Novel Authors, Novel Reviews | 4 Comments


Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn

In my last post I commented that one reason I liked Carol Anshaw’s Carry the One so much was that I felt the writer’s sensibility permeated the novel.  There’s a unique personality behind the curtain, narrating and describing even as the third person point of view ranges among a number of characters.  The novel has what I think of as voice.  I’ve tackled the subject of voice in writing in an article in which I described it as “the external manifestation, in language, of the writer’s sensibility: how she sees the world; her values; what she Read More