Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1: A new month and a few books!

The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

Andy recommended this novel to me and it took me awhile to read it, but after the first page I knew Doiron was a skillful writer who'd construct a worthwhile story. The book deals with a young game warden in the Maine woods, and a strong thread in it is the sorrow of losing the wilderness, the access to the woods, and the appreciation and knowledge of it. At the same time, Doiron doesn't glamorize the difficulties of woods life, poverty, and the impact of lack of options and opportunities. The plot moves rapidly, and the characters are interesting and varied, though I hope Mike's girlfriend gets developed beyond her somewhat flat role in this first outing. Mike's relationship with his female mentor and the wheelchair-bound wife of a bush pilot offer some nice variation in female roles. I think I'll keep an eye out for the sequel(s)!

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Another Andy recommendation--actually, a command. This is a warm and "peopley" novel that offers an interesting and humane picture of an African-American community in Indiana. The characters are in their 50's, and their intertwined stories reveal changes and continuities in their experience and history. While I often complain about the new craze for multi-voice novels, Moore handles the format well: Odette is the first person narrator, and the other women's stories are in third person. It's confusing at first, but after a little while things become clear. A few of the revelations were predictable, but the overall structure of community and caring made the book a pleasure to read.

The Golden Egg by Donna Leon
I think I might like to BE Donna Leon--smart, chic, living in Italy. . . Failing that, I'll read her books, despite their clear focus on corruption in Italy and the decay of the environment. This one was a little less focused in general: at one point, Brunetti himself wonders why he's spent this week doing a fairly unnecessary investigation, so I felt justified in my sense of mild confusion! However, Leon does deliver her usual dose of detail and experience, despite the lack of pressing plot motivation. Enjoyable. Oh: and I just figured out the significance of the title as I typed it in!

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