Reported by Jeanne
Our first Nevermore speaker had read Appalachian Passage by Helen Hiscoe. Adapted from Hiscoe’s journals, the book details life in a coal camp in West Virginia during 1949-50 where her husband worked as a physician. Living conditions were difficult to say the least, and the culture shock was considerable. Gritty, emotional, and fascinating, our reader praised the book for its honest and eye-opening look at life in our region in the not so distant past.
Rachel Morse, the young daughter of a black American father and a Danish mother, is sent to live in Chicago with her paternal grandmother after a family tragedy in The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow. Rachel is light skinned and has blue eyes, which makes it even harder for her to navigate the complex code of racial identity she finds in America. Our reviewer said she thought it was a Young Adult novel at first, but was quickly drawn into the intense, heart-breaking story. Part mystery, part sociological examination, part coming of age story, this book comes highly recommended.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini explores over thirty years of Afghan history through the stories of two women, one the child of a poor family and the other a daughter of privilege. The Nevermore member has read and enjoyed other works by Hosseini and this one was no exception. She says she has learned much about both the country and the culture through these books.
Alexander McCall Smith departs from his usual beat of books set in the UK or in Botswana for Sweden in this first book in a new series. In The Department of Sensitive Crimes the reader is introduced to Ulf Varg and his colleagues who investigate lesser crimes—or crimes that are just, well, odd. McCall Smith is well known for his strong characterization and gentle commentary on the human condition, and this series is no exception. Our reader said it was one of the funniest and most delightful things she had read in some time and she highly recommended it to everyone.
Finally, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens continues to make the rounds. The current reader said that this tale of a girl who grows up in the North Carolina marshlands will “disrupt your life” because you have to keep reading. The book begins with the discovery of a murder, then goes back in time to introduce the characters, most notably Kya, who is abandoned by her mother as a child and who is a keen observer of her natural surroundings. Lyrical, with a vivid setting and an unforgettable main character, this novel has been enjoyed by many Nevermore members.