I 'm catching up on releases from February through April that I wanted to make sure you all are aware of. I can highly recommend all of these good reads. This first one blew me away.
Anything Is Possible
By Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout has done it again. In this companion to My Name is Lucy Barton Strout explores the lives of the residents of a small town in Illinois. Like Olive Kitteridge this is done through a series of connected short stories. Through these well written stories she illuminates the interconnectedness of our lives. She shows us that no matter how dysfunctional the family or dark the secrets, Anything Is Possible.
While I had previously read My Name is Lucy Barton, I do not think that is necessary to enjoy this book. This is a companion to Lucy Barton, not a sequel, and being such I believe you could read them in any order or simultaneously.
(Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti
"one part Quentin Tarantino,
one part Scheherazade,
and twelve parts wild innovation"
- Ann Patchett
I had never read anything by Hannah Tinti before and I'm glad I finally found her through this novel. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is the story of a father, Samuel and his daughter, Loo and what defines a "good" parent. Through alternating chapters, present and Samuel's past, the story of why the pair have lived a transient lifestyle slowly unfolds and keeps us turning the pages following them from throughout the U.S. to see where they will end up. Samuel and Loo are complex characters with real human faults, living with the choices they've made, good and bad. I really enjoyed this novel. It portrays a father/daughter relationship that we do not often see in fiction. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.
(Thank you to Dial Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review)
by Julie Buntin
Julie Buntin's debut novel, Marlena, is right in my wheelhouse. I am fascinated by stories about adolescent girls and when they are beautifully written, like this one, I'm thrilled. There is something about friendships at that time in our lives that (though the details may be different) conveys a universal experience that we all can relate to. We all have experiences in adolescence that follow us the rest of our lives.
Butin explores that with an narrative alternating between Cat at fifteen years old in Michigan and twenty years later with Cat in New York. We know from the first pages that Marlena died a mysterious death twenty years ago and this knowledge spurns us on looking for answers. Both page-turning mystery and insightful coming of age story, Marlena ranks right up there with Cat's Eye, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital, My Brilliant Friend and The Girls.
(Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Co. for an ARC in exchange for an honest review)
by Min Jin Lee
This well written historical multi-generational family saga follows a strong Korean family beginning in the early 1900s through the Japanese occupation of Korea and subsequently their exile in Japan and concluding in 1989. I really enjoyed the look at the dynamic between the Koreans and Japanese, a cultural and historical insight I knew nothing about.
(Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishingfor an ARC in exchange for an honest review)