Simon Watson receives an odd gift from a stranger in the mail one day–an old book that records the travels and business of an 18th century circus. The accompanying note suggests that he might like it because it has a distant family connection. Beyond that, Simon is a man who likes old books–he is a reference librarian in his hometown on Long Island. However, rather than the book merely being a piece of the past, Simon finds some troubling revelations about his family as he researches the topic further.
Continue reading “Erica Swyler’s The Book of Speculation”
In the mid-1990s in Akure, Nigeria, 9-year-old Benjamin lives with his 3 older brothers, 2 younger siblings, and his parents. Their lives are going smoothly enough until their father is transferred to another city for his job at the national bank. He doesn’t want to uproot the family, so they stay in their home, and the boys develop a love for fishing at the local river. One day, a local mentally-ill homeless man, who some consider a prophet, predicts that the oldest brother will be killed by one of his siblings. This prophecy destabilizes the family as the oldest brother becomes paranoid and withdrawn and his mother and younger siblings are hurt and confused by his rejection of them.
But is the prophecy true?
Continue reading “Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen (2015)”
I’ve been a Louise Erdrich fan ever since reading her short story “Red Convertible” for a class in college several years ago. I later discovered that the story was actually a chapter from one of her novels, and though I was too busy with school that semester to read any more of her work, the first break I got, I read the original novel. Ever since then, I’ve tried to keep up with her work because I enjoyed her realistic, three-dimensional characters; her lyrical writing style; and her depictions of contemporary Native American life interwoven with stories from the past.
Continue reading “Louise Erdrich’s LaRose”