Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Nevermore: Arthur Truluv, Cabin, Evvie Drake, Dumpty, Bullwhip Days, Midwinter, Boy in the Snow

Reported by Kristin

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg was enjoyed by a couple of Nevermore readers. Arthur Moses recently lost his wife, but rides a bus to visit her in the cemetery every day. Maddy Harris is a teen who never knew her mother, and doesn’t fit in with the other kids. They form an unlikely friendship, and draw Arthur’s neighbor Lucille into their group. One Nevermore member enjoyed Arthur’s story, with another jumping in to say how much she also liked it along with other Berg titles such as The Confession Club and The Art of Mending.

Fiction discussion then turned a bit spooky, as the next reader picked up The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. Eric and Andrew and their seven-year-old daughter Wen are enjoying their New Hampshire lake vacation when all chaos breaks loose. When a man appears on their doorstep he seems to be a friendly visitor, but he has a warning which will change all their lives forever. Our reader was impressed with the social commentary amid the terror and suspense.

On the lighter side, our next Nevermore member picked up Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. Set in a small town, this is the tale of a woman whose husband was about to leave her, but was in a car accident before he could. This may sound dreadful, but our reader said that it was a warm and funny story about the value of the friendships which surrounded Evvie in a difficult time.

Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse by John Lithgow brought laughter to the table. A satirical poetry collection, our reader found it true to 2020 political life. While she found it a bit scary, she also found moments of poignancy amid the humor.

In more serious non-fiction, our next reader picked up Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember: An Oral History by James Mellon. Written in the 1930s when there were still living people who were born into slavery, this Works Progress Administration project captured the culture of that sad period of time. The author used dialect straight from his subjects, which might be a little difficult for modern readers, but added so much color and flavor of life. Our reader noted that this volume gave her so much and changed her own attitude from growing up in southern Louisiana.

Finally, our next reader found a common theme in two mysteries, and it went far beyond the cold, snowy titles. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming introduces newly ordained Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson. The parish soon experiences a brutal murder and an abandoned baby. Strong characters make this a series debut worth reading.

The Boy in the Snow by M. J. McGrath has been compared to popular Scandinavian thrillers. Alaskan Native Edie Kiglatuk is supporting her husband as he begins the Iditarod dog race but the discovery of an infant corpse soon turns the scene grisly. Our reader found the scenery descriptions great, and revealed that the common theme she had found in these two titles was that the heroines did not allow themselves to play the victim.

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