Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad

Egan pushes the boundaries of what can reasonably be called a “novel” with this intricately structured and densely-linked set of stories. I don’t think there’s a single element — of plot, character, or even theme — present in all the tales. Characters reappear in various contexts, with a cameo role in one story becoming theContinue reading “Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Swiftly Tilting Planet

I was sorely disappointed by A Swiftly Tilting Planet when I first read it; I’m pretty sure I only read it once before. It may be worth mentioning that I first encountered this novel when my head was full of Tolkein and Star Wars — and it’s not exactly crammed with action-adventure teenage boy appeal.Continue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Swiftly Tilting Planet”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door

As a kid, I distinctly remember thinking that A Wind in the Door was even better than A Wrinkle in Time. I think this was mostly because of Proginoskes, an unusual and seriously awesome character. But it’s not possible for me to sustain my former opinion of the novels’ relative merit this time around. TheContinue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Wrinkle in Time

Rebecca Steadman’s When You Reach Me impelled me to renew my affaire de coeur with A Wrinkle in Time. I read things with a different sort of eye than I did when I was, y’know, twelve, and some things stood out for me this time that didn’t before. Yowza, one of my all-time favorite novelsContinue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Wrinkle in Time”

Janet Evanovich: Wicked Appetite

I was curious but skeptical about Evanovich’s foray into fantasy themed fiction, and was quite pleasantly surprised. (It turns out, it’s not really her first foray; the “Between the Numbers” novels apparently introduced supernatural elements into the Stephanie Plum books some time ago.) Anyway, Wicked Appetite‘s find-the-ancient-mystic-artifacts plot and plethora of quirky characters reminded meContinue reading “Janet Evanovich: Wicked Appetite”

Jonathan Evison: All About Lulu

I had very mixed feelings about All About Lulu. There’s a lot to like: Evison’s prose is fresh and vivid, with lots of unusual metaphors (the first chapter, “The World Is Made of Meat,” is a stunner). The dialogue is crisp and credible, and Evison gets compellingly deep into his narrator’s head. I loved howContinue reading “Jonathan Evison: All About Lulu”

Jennifer Egan: The Keep

The Keep had me enthralled within the first handful of pages, and held me that way throughout; I devoured it in a single day, almost literally in a single sitting. It’s a tricky book to discuss without giving the wrong things away, but within the first chapter the reader has clues that the relationship betweenContinue reading “Jennifer Egan: The Keep”

Maggie Estep: Soft Maniacs

I have mixed feelings about the merits of collections of linked short stories, as opposed to novels. A short story collection is legitimately free from the need to function as a single work. And short stories can explore multiple perspectives on characters and events in a way that’s difficult for a (conventionally structured, anyway) novel.Continue reading “Maggie Estep: Soft Maniacs”