Friday, February 28, 2014

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Think you’ve had enough of historical fiction set during World War II? Think again! Set mostly in Saint-Malo, the gorgeous French coastal town, shown on the cover, All The Light We Cannot See is a testament to the triumph of humanity over overwhelming odds. The story features a blind French girl, a precocious German boy and a precious diamond, intertwining to form the backbone of the suspenseful narrative. Love, resilience, guilt, survival, are all weighty themes that unfold magnificently here. You won’t get your head out of Saint-Malo for a while. Small price to pay for a story this good.

A longer review of this book will be published on closer to the release date. Thanks to the publishers for making an ARC available on Netgalley.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Growing up is hard enough. Imagine doing so as a new immigrant where your family is still navigating the parameters of the adopted country. That’s harder. Now top this all off with the crushing weight of immutable circumstances brought about by unspeakable tragedy. This, shows Akhil Sharma in his bleak moving novel, is no ordinary “family life.” While Ajay’s parents lean on different crutches to live with extreme pain, he must carve a path through the haze to some kind of redemption. Crafted with elements from his own life, Sharma delivers an entirely brilliant take on the popular coming-of-age story.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sea of Hooks by Lindsay Hill

Christopher Westall is drowning in a sea of hooks. The single child of a troubled mother and an indifferent father, he tries to find his place in the world despite an excruciatingly painful childhood. The novel’s unusual structure, which is essentially a string of short poems woven together, might make it easy to put down, but there are plenty of riches here for the patient reader. Easily one of the year’s best, the novel shows how still waters can run deep. Even if the sea of hooks gnaw at Christopher’s very soul one can glimpse redemption deep in the morass. 

A longer review of this title will be published on Thank you to the publishers for a copy of the book.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness by Neil Swidey

Boston seems to have a penchant for huge engineering projects. The Big Dig might have been the attention-monger in its day but the cracks slowly making its way through Trapped Under the Sea belonged to yet another money-guzzler, the Boston Harbor cleanup. Part of this expensive solution involved work in constrictive underwater tunnels under extremely hazardous conditions. Neil Swidey deftly chronicles the divers’ problems and the disaster that unfolded. Even if at times the personal lives of the workers read too much like a made-for-television movie, the thoroughly researched narrative is superbly paced and the engineering details are incredibly absorbing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Dismal Science by Peter Mountford

It is no wonder that of the Commedia’s three sections, it is the one that graces the cover of this riveting novel, Purgatario, that really interests economist Vincenzo d’Orsi. After all, having quit his job as a senior executive at the World Bank, he finds himself in a special kind of purgatory. While exploring the parameters for a new job, the widower tries his best to renew a shaky relationship with his grown daughter. Not surprisingly, reality is sobering. As Vincenzo soon realizes, you can either save the world or you can save yourself. Unfortunately, it is an either-or proposition.