At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

water's edgeSara Gruen (Water for Elephants) is a writer who I’ve always heard great things about, but I’ve never read her because none of her novels appealed to me. Until At The Water’s Edge.¬†It’s set in the Scottish highlands and tells the story of three young Americans who, during World War II, come in search of the Loch Ness Monster. I like the time period, I like the setting and I like the Loch Ness monster. Continue reading

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

My reading has been far from multicultural lately. Brits and white North Americans seem to be dominating. This is a situation I usually try to avoid, but when a novel about a dysfunctional family comes my way I have a hard time turning away. Enter The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

And the Plumb family is definitely dysfunctional. The four siblings have had to wait until the youngest turns forty for their inheritance. But that has not stopped them from spending it. All are caught up in financial and familial turmoil that a large lump sum of money could potentially resolve. But life is never that simple, is it? Oldest brother Leo does something (but what?) that means the windfall will not be going to his siblings. At least not as much as they had initially anticipated and built their lives around.

My only complaint about the book, which i loved, was the ending. Everything is wrapped up a little to neatly for me. They don’t get the money, but everyone lives happily ever after, or at least comes to terms with their state of affairs.

Who will like this book? If you like dysfunctional families as I clearly do, then The Nest will be a winner for you. It fulfills Tolstoy’s adage that each family is unhappy in it’s own way. There’s lots of lies and deceit and the kind of scandal that rocks life in suburbia. Oh, and Amy Poehler is blurbed on the cover, so you know it’s good.

Why We Came To The City by Kristopher Jansma

Don’t let the fact that it took me a while to get around to reviewing Kristopher Jansma‘s latest novel Why We Came To The City deceive you. I loved it. I loved it more than his debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards (review). It’s a novel that’s stuck with me and that I’ll be pushing into quite a few people’s hands. Continue reading

Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen by Kate Taylor

proust-kosher-kitchenMadame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen is a re-read for me, after many long years. It came out in way back in 2003, i think, and that’s about when I originally read it. Kate Taylor, at the time, was a Globe and Mail personality, if such a thing exits. I remember reading it and loving it so much. I just wanted to talk to everyone about it. And I was also about mid-stride in my love affair with Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Continue reading

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne

the-dogs-of-littlefieldOnce again, the first thing that grabbed me about The Dogs of Littlefield was the cover. See? The cover does matter. Flip it over and it would appear that the novel is about an anthropologist doing fieldwork in  Littlefield, one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America, to see what makes it so. The action is centered around a proposed dog park, and opposition to it. That and suburban affairs, teenage angst and evidence that Littlefield may not be the idyll it is purported to be. Continue reading