Some really good fiction this month
It's hard to say which is best, they are all so different. Do they have anything in common? Yes: Family relationships.
Killing Auntie; Bursa, Andrzej; Wiesiek Powaga (Translation)
Restless Polish student relates (unreliably) the the dark tale of killing his aunt and the difficulties of disposing of the body.
Confession of the Lioness; Couto, Mia; David Brookshaw
The Indian; Gnarr, Jón; Lytton Smith (Translation)
Childhood memoir of Icelandic actor, comedian, and politician (mayor of Reykjavik).
If I Fall, If I Die; Christie, Michael
A young boy tries to break free of restraints imposed on him by his agoraphobic, over protective mother. Set in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Free advance review copy from the publisher.
The Marriage of Opposites; Hoffman, Alice
Love and family intrigue among the 19th Century Jewish population on the island of St. Thomas. The story of the family of French impressionist painter Camille Pissarro.
No. 4 Imperial Lane: A Novel; Weisman, Jonathan
An American student in England takes a job helping with the care of an elderly paraplegic. The patient's sister tells the story of her life as a Portuguese doctor's wife in colonial Africa.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Good, but not as good as the ones above
The House of Hawthorne; Robuck, Erika
A novel, told in the first person, about Sophia Peabody Hawthorne and her marriage to Nathaniel Hawthorne. It crosses the fine line between romantic and sentimental and at times the pair seems a bit sappy. Sophie suffered from migraine, so do I and I sometimes have a difficult time reading about it. It is presented realistically here and made me empathetic toward Sophie.
Under the Persimmon Tree; Staples, Suzanne Fisher
Circling the Sun; McLain, Paula
This is a novelized biography or, rather, autobiography of the early life of aviatrix Beryl Markham. A rather sanitized version as can be expected in first person narratives. The voice is non-judgmental, she just tells it and doesn't often question her own morals. Probably pretty true to the way she saw herself.
Some short stories
In Another Country: Selected Stories; Constantine, David
Incredibly beautiful writing. Wish I owned this. It may be one of those rare occasions when I buy a book I've already read.
Moments of an Explosion: Stories; Miéville, China
A mixed bag--I really liked some of these, bit some were a bit too weird for my taste.
The State We're In: Maine Stories; Beattie, Ann
I was a little disappointed at first, bit then the characters started reappearing and I really got into it. These must be read in order.
King John and The Road to Magna Carta; Morris, Marc
Not much here that I didn't already know, but well told. Sort of a refresher course for me.