Monday, February 18, 2008
monday book review: three novellas, three quickie reviews
Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O'Nan 
(2007, 146 pages)
Set in a Red Lobster on its final day of operation, Last Night at the Lobster makes unlikely heroes out of chain restaurant managers and argues that pride can be found from performing the most menial tasks. I picked this book up based on Stephen King's raving recommendation, but although it was an enjoyable enough way to spend a few hours, the characters never felt fully developed to me, and - probably due to its claustrophobic setting - I couldn't shake the nagging feeling it would have succeeded better as a play rather than a novel.

In Search of Mockingbird, by Loretta Ellsworth 
(2007, 181 pages)
Erin, a smart, bookish high school sophomore, takes a lone, cross-country trip on a greyhound bus in the hopes of meeting Harper Lee, gaining a better understanding of a mother she never knew, and discovering whether she truly has what it takes to be a writer. In Search of Mockingbird draws heavy thematic and character inspiration from its namesake while still managing to stand alone on its own merits, and while fans of To Kill a Mockingbird would certainly enjoy it, reading "Mockingbird" is not necessarily a prerequisite. It is a poignant and well-written piece, although it's the sort of young adult fiction I can see adults apt to reflect on their teenage years enjoying more than actual young adults.

Steps Through the Mist: A Mosaic Novel, by Zoran Zivkovic (Translated by Alice Copple-Tosie, 2007, 125 pages)
Fantasy and Science Fiction aren't generally my genres; nonetheless, I picked up this existential "mosaic novel" because I like trying to be a well-rounded reader. Zivkovic uses the motif of fate as a thread to weave together the stories of four diverse women. It was a weird little thing, but I enjoyed it; I can see how fans of Jean-Paul Sartre would too.

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Blogger Mary said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I'm reading A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore and I'm really enjoying it. (He also wrote Lamb which I found HILARIOUS. My mother found it blasphemous and threw it out.)

Blogger Mrs. White said...

I read Lamb a few years back and loved it, although it's certainly not something I'd recommend to my mom in anticipation of a similar "blasphemous" reaction. :)

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