Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein

Wasn’t the Garden of Eden just perfect until that nasty snake came along? Melissa Potter believes so. It’s up to her, she knows, to chase the “snakes” out – to make believers out of people like Andrew Waite, her college biology professor, an avowed atheist. In her compelling new novel, Lauren Grodstein shows that our views on religion are mostly a matter of perspective. What really is the explanation for everything? Is it God? Or is it science? As Melissa and Waite explore these profound questions, they find that neat explanations are hard to come by and the “other side” difficult to compartmentalize.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Asunder by Chloe Aridjis

Years ago, it was suffragette Mary Richardson who took a cleaver to Velasquez's Rokeby Venus but that wound continues to haunt Marie, a guard at London's National Gallery. The cracks and tears that paintings take on over time, she realizes, are much like the strains people are subjected to as well. As Marie struggles with the weight of her past and the release that is waiting like a coiled spring to finally materialize, the reader is treated to some poetic imagery and an incisive exploration of the slow burn of life for an everywoman who is just coming into her own.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

It is only fitting that Artemis, the goddess of fertility and hunting, graces the cover of Donna Tartt’s superbly paced debut thriller, The Secret History. In a nod to the goddess of “swift death,” a closely knit group of college students, studying the classics at a small Vermont liberal arts institution, kills one of its own. In the echo chamber that results, morality walks on a slippery slope. This coming-of-age story (with glorious descriptions of Vermont) beautifully explores uncomfortable questions about ethics and courage. What’s scary here is not the crime itself but just how darned plausible Tartt makes it all seem.