Review: The Garden of Last Days

The Garden of Last Days
The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cast of deeply flawed (in some cases far less than sympathetic) characters intersect as they play out their own doomed fates and make bad life choices. The book made me uncomfortable, even angry, but I suspect this was Dubus’ intent. Much more than just a book about “where were you on September 10th, 2011?” this is masterful storytelling.



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Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Always a fan of re-told fairy tales, I was not disappointed with this one. Based on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” by the Brothers Grimm (one of my all-time favourites), this version takes place in the speakeasies and dance halls of the Roaring Twenties. Valentine’s rather quirky, and very parenthetical, writing style suits the fairy tale nature of the re-telling and successfully immerses the reader in 1920s Manhattan. A fun read!



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Review: Mischling

Mischling
Mischling by Affinity Konar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twin girls arrive at Auschwitz and immediately become part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo. Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past. Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad. This was harrowing, haunting, and somehow lyrical. I couldn’t put it down. So beautifully written …

“A violet night was falling and we heard a clock ticking in the air, addressing us, telling us that we were running out of time. Two steps farther, I realized that this sound was only the pound of my heart, though the message remained the same. The ticks quickened when we rounded a corner and saw a Red Army soldier … leaning against a wall alongside a broom. I wondered if that broom was so young that it had only the experience of sweeping ash and rubble.”




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Review: Heroes of the Frontier

Heroes of the Frontier
Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wavered on this. I wanted to love it more than I did. Josie, the protagonist, was either intriguing or infuriating by turns. Does Eggers mean her (and by extension her pilgrimage/escape/adventure) to be profound, or is she the fool? Perhaps I’m too old for her self-indulgence. Not my favourite read recently.



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