I was really looking forward to The Book of Form and Emptiness (2021) by Ruth Ozeki because I loved her 2013 A Tale for the Time Being. It both exceeded and fell far short of my expectations in different ways. The great: I was hooked from the very first page. Ozeki has the book tellContinue reading “The Book of Form and Emptiness”
In The Other Man (2021) by Farhad Dadyburjor, Ved, the closeted heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, gets himself into trouble when he submits to the pressure to get married to a woman. Ved’s work is his life; he lives with his father and avoids his mother because she reminds him at every opportunityContinue reading “The Other Man”
Alice I Have Been (2009) is historical fiction based on the life of Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired the fictional Alice in Wonderland. Full disclosure: I have never read Lewis Carroll’s classic, although I’m aware of the characters and general overview. Alice Liddell was the daughter of an Oxford dean and lived across theContinue reading “Alice I Have Been”
The idea of The Elephants in My Backyard (2016) by Rajiv Surendra was interesting–a young actor is so enthralled with a character in a book and the similarities he shares with the character that he starts an email correspondence with the author and goes on a years-long quest to prepare himself for the role byContinue reading “The Elephants in My Backyard”
It took two tries for me to stick with The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters (2019) by Balli Kaur Jaswal–I think I needed the audio version to fully get into it. although Jaswal’s third novel–2017’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows–was an instant favorite. Unlikely Adventures opens with an ill Punjabi-Sikh mother of adult daughters,Continue reading “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters”
In When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal (2019), we meet Kit, a Santa Cruz ER doctor, and travel with her to New Zealand to look for her presumed-dead sister, Josie, after catching a glimpse of her in a news story. Through flashbacks, we learn the sad history of the family, disintegrated by neglectfulContinue reading “When We Believed in Mermaids”
Joan Is Okay (pub. January 18, 2022) by Weike Wang, follows NYC resident, attending intensive care doctor Joan through the aftermath of the death of her father in China, and the weekend she took away from work to attend his funeral. It follows her through a forced bereavement leave, through the start of the coronavirusContinue reading “Joan Is Okay”
There is too much anti-fat bias in this otherwise interesting immigrant coming-of-age novel.
O Beautiful by Jung Yun (coming November 2021) is the story of the return of Elinor Hanson, a forty-something former-model-turned-journalist, to North Dakota near her hometown. Avery is a town full of changes brought by the oil boom in the Bakken shale, where people sleep in parking lots because there are no hotels to beContinue reading “O Beautiful”
This 1994 Pulitzer finalist doesn’t stand the test of time.