Saturday, February 15, 2014
I will catch up. I promise. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on two new books by powerhouse writers: The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch, and A Life in Men by Gina Frangello. Both books have London, England, as a critical backdrop. Both reviews can be found in the pages of the Chicago Tribune. My review of A Life in Men, up this weekend, begins like this:
Love is brutalized throughout Gina Frangello's second novel, "A Life in Men." The pursuit of it, the act, the possibility. Love is what two young American women think they want, are perhaps even owed, but violence — premeditated, haphazard, self-inflicted — intervenes.
One young woman, Nicole (or Nix), will vanish. The other, her best friend, Mary, will live her life trying to collect every experience and many a man before the clock ticks out on her. In Mary's case, the clock is ticking fast: She has cystic fibrosis. Her skin tastes like salt. Her lungs fill with mucous. She survives with the help of all manner of medical paraphernalia. Sometimes it seems that she will not survive at all.