Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nevermore: Fabulous Fiction!

Reported by Ambrea

This week, our Nevermore readers picked up a variety of fiction, ranging from a dire, post-apocalyptic future to the trenches of World War I to the glittering and gritty skyline of modern Los Angeles.  We started with Wool by Hugh Howey, which begins with Holston—a citizen of the silo, one of the few remaining safe havens left in a newly inhospitable world—who suddenly finds himself desperate to leave, desperate to go outside.  Like others before him, Holston’s wish is granted and he’s allowed to leave with the caveat that he will clean the windows of the silo with a clump of wool and then disappear forever.  For those who leave the silo are doomed to never return.  Our reader said Wool was surprisingly good.  She enjoyed the story, but she also enjoyed the fact that Howey used an older narrator, a man of average strength and skill, an unassuming hero for an unexpectedly complex novel.

Our readers abruptly switched gears with A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith and dived into the wilderness of antebellum Florida.  The story begins with Tobias MacIvey, who arrives in Florida to start a new life with his wife and son, and ends nearly a century later with Solomon MacIvey.  Considered a “sweeping story…[filled with] rich, rugged Florida history,” A Land Remembered encompasses not just the experience of one family as they seek to tame the land, but the entirety of the region.  Our Nevermore reader had nothing but praise for Smith’s book.  She said the author did an excellent job in fabricating his novel, pulling in extraordinary descriptions of the land, the people, and the time period and interspersing his prose with historical facts that made his writing both believable and enjoyable.

Next, we explored The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières.  The McCosh girls—Christabel, Ottilie, Rosie, and Sophie—grow up in the countryside, spending their days in carefree camaraderie with the Pendennis brothers—Sidney, Albert, and Ashbridge—and the Pitt boys, Archie and Daniel.  But their lives abruptly change with the start of World War I.  Suddenly, the Pendennis brothers are caught in the trenches, Rosie and Ottilie McCosh are working as nurses along the front lines, Daniel becomes a fighter pilot, while the others are scattered to the far sides of the continent, each telling their stories as the war unfolds and a new world emerges.  For our reader, The Dust that Falls from Dreams was a surprisingly good book.  It had the qualities of an epic, encompassing several characters over a number of years, and it had a way of drawing the reader into the story that was enjoyable.

Our readers also explored Last Words by Michael Koryta.  Markus Novak, an investigator for a defense firm in Florida, has spent the two years since his wife’s murder looking for answers to no avail.  Now, with his job on the line, he’s investigating a cold case in Garrison, Indiana—where, much to his surprise, he discovers that the supposed murderer, a man by the name of Ridley Barnes, has asked to reopen the case.  Left with no choice but to investigation, Novak digs into the case only to discover that nothing is as he expected in the small farm town of Garrison.  Our reader said he really enjoyed Koryta’s latest novel.  Although he was unfamiliar with Koryta’s work, he was pleased with his newest book and highly recommended it to our group.  He also noted (with a laugh) that Last Words featured a sociopath, which harkened back to Nevermore meetings where our members discussed The Psychopath Test and The Sociopath Next Door.

Last, our readers discussed Private L.A. by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan.  Jack Morgan is the founder and director of America’s top investigative firm, known only as Private, and he’s dead set on conquering each and every job his investigators encounter.  Together with Justine Smith, his partner and sometimes girlfriend, Jack Morgan looks into the disappearance of Hollywood’s greatest power-couple only to discover the truth is not what it seems.  Our reader was thrilled with her audiobook choice.  She really enjoyed listening to the story, enjoyed seeing the mystery unfold, but she also loved the fact that Patterson actually incorporated real celebrity personalities.  He digs deep into Hollywood to seamlessly inject his story into the real world, creating a whodunit with a little intrigue and a little suspense and lots of twists.

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