This week, Nevermore started their gathering with An Elderly Lady is up to No Good by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlene Delargy. Thanks to a clause in a hastily negotiated contract, 88-year-old Maud has been living rent-free in her family’s apartment in Gothenburg and she spends her days traveling the world, surfing the net, and enjoying her solitary existence. She likes living alone and, when problems arise, she doesn’t let a little thing like murder get in her way. Our reader absolutely adored reading Tursten’s story collection. She joked that she wanted to be like Maud. “I don’t necessarily want to kill people,” she explained, “but, if I see a problem, I want to be able to solve it.” She highly recommended An Elderly Lady is up to No Good, saying it was a treat to read.
Next, Nevermore checked out The Ice Swimmer, the sixth book in the Oslo Detective series by Kjell Ola Dahl. When a dead man is found in the freezing waters of Oslo Harbor, Detective Lena Stigersand isn’t happy to add another weight to her already complicated life. But, as she investigates what happened to the man discovered beneath the ice, she finds the murder may be linked to a conspiracy—that reaches deep into the heart of the Norwegian government. Our reader enjoyed Dahl’s novel. She told her fellow Nevermore members that she’s a very big fan of Nordic noir and The Ice Swimmer really fits the bill. Well written but not especially gruesome, Dahl’s novel seemed to hit all the right notes.
Switching to nonfiction, Nevermore explored Never Cry Wolf: Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves by Farley Mowat. When Farley Mowat was sent by the Canadian Wildlife Service to investigate why arctic wolves were killing caribou, he spends months living alongside these creatures, developing a deep affection for the wolves and a local tribe of Inuit people known as the Ihalmiut (or “People of the Deer”). Our reader said Mowat’s book was absolutely wonderful. She loved that the author personalized the wolves—that is, he let their personalities shine through. She really liked his writing and she enjoyed learning more about wolves, the Inuit, and conservation efforts. She highly recommended it to her fellow readers, especially those who are fans of Jane Goodall.
Nevermore returned to the realm of fiction with a look at Someone, a novel by Alice McDermott, which tells the story of Marie, an ordinary woman with an ordinary life—and takes a glimpse at how the ordinary can be truly beautiful. Our reader, who absolutely loves Alice McDermott’s work, said she enjoyed Someone immensely. Although it was only a look at the life of one ordinary woman, it felt like an epic story with its twists and turns going from Marie’s childhood to her marriage to the disruption of World War II. “It was fascinating,” our reader gushed, to see how McDermott could take an average story and make it so beautiful, so vibrant and lovely.
Next, Nevermore shared The Eternal Wonder, a final novel by Pearl S. Buck published nearly forty years after her death. Randolph Colfax (also known as Rann) is an extraordinarily gifted young man, a man with an eternal sense of wonder that leads him from his small town in Ohio to New York, England, Paris, and beyond. When he meets the beautiful and equally brilliant Stephanie Kung, he finds himself falling for her, even as they both struggle to reconcile their identities within the world and find a sense of meaning. Our reader, who has explored Buck’s novels in the past, said this latest story was interesting. It felt like a bit of a departure from the author’s usual style; however, our reader said she liked The Eternal Wonder and definitely found it worth reading.
Last, Nevermore wrapped their meeting up with An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Celestial and Roy are young, newly married, and incredibly happy. He is a young executive, while she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career; however, when Roy is charged with a crime he didn’t commit, they find themselves growing distant as they learn to lead very different lives. Our reader said she loved reading An American Marriage. The novel, she noted, felt intimate and moving, combining heartbreak and hope and insight into human foibles to create a story that was singularly extraordinary. She loved it, and she highly recommended it to her fellow readers.