Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday April BCB The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Product Description

It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

Monday April BCB The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

Product Description

The Hundred Secret Senses is an exultant novel about China and America, love and loyalty, the identities we invent and the true selves we discover along the way. Olivia Laguni is half-Chinese, but typically American in her uneasiness with her patchwork family. And no one in Olivia's family is more embarrassing to her than her half-sister, Kwan Li. For Kwan speaks mangled English, is cheerfully deaf to Olivia's sarcasm, and sees the dead with her "yin eyes."

Even as Olivia details the particulars of her decades-long grudge against her sister (who, among other things, is a source of infuriatingly good advice), Kwan Li is telling her own story, one that sweeps us into the splendor, squalor, and violence of Manchu China. And out of the friction between her narrators, Amy Tan creates a work that illuminates both the present and the past sweetly, sadly, hilariously, with searing and vivid prose.

Monday, March 8, 2010

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

In Pat Conroy’s latest book, South of Broad, he writes in first person as the character, Leopold Bloom King. The story begins in 1969 when Leo, a junior in high school, is asked by his mother, the principal, to befriend some new students that will begin the new school year with him. They include a set of twins who move in across the street, a pair of brother and sister orphans, an aristocratic brother and sister (and his girlfriend), and an African American teen who will be one of the first to be integrated into public school. All of these teens become quite a group and we follow them into adulthood. This friendship begins at a time when Leo is just beginning to feel like a “real person” again after going through years of treatment for mental illness that he suffered after finding his older, athletic, popular and handsome brother dead in the bathtub from suicide.

Conroy, as always, gives wonderful details of his surroundings (Charleston, SC), his characters and their feelings. There are numerous twists and turns throughout the novel with plenty of opportunities for Kleenex! It is a novel that keeps you on the edge and waiting for the next thing to happen.  It was a very enjoyable read. 

By Randy Rowell