I’ve been reading up a storm:
- Rules for Saying Goodbye by Katherine Taylor (coming in June from FSG)—pretty good first novel about a girl who never quite fits in or grows up. Taylor draws a nice portrait of a character always on the lookout for something but they’re not quite sure what.
- Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber (coming in June from W.W. Norton)—Abu-Jaber’s first mystery, she does a brilliant job of creating both a complex enough plot with real, interesting characters. Lena, a fingerprint expert at a lab in Syracuse, investigates a series of crib deaths that might be cases of SIDS or murders. Meanwhile, she begins to question her own shadowy childhood. The book engaged me completely on this past chilly Sunday.
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami (coming in May from Random House)—Short novel from one of my father authors. Set over the course of an evening, the chapters cut between several interconnected stories: trombonist Tetsuya, entering a Denny’s one evening, runs into Mari Asai. He was once interested in Mari’s beautiful older sister Eri, who has been asleep for a month, trapped in some netherworld. Meanwhile, a Chinese prostitute is beaten badly by an officeworker at a love hotel and the propietor, Kaoru, needs Mari’s Chinese translation skills. The book doesn’t go anywhere. Rather it seems to be more of an observation on coincidences and time.
- The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones (coming in May from Houghton-Mifflin)—While this book is nicely written, I feel like I’m not it’s target. It’s about a woman who has lost her husband in a tragic auto accident. Then she learns that a paternity suit has been filed in China against her husband’s estate. Reeling from this news, she goes to China to investigate the suit and also to write an article on an up and coming chef Sam Liang. She and Liang form an instant bond and each help each other come to terms with major events in their lives. While not a bad book by any means, it just didn’t move me in any particular way. We just weren’t meant to be.
I just finished After Dark, as well. What did you make of the whole TV world/alternate reality(?)? I feel stupid because I just didn’t get it! Without understanding it all, though, I still liked the book.