Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anxious Reads: “The Pervasive Sense of Doom”*

Some books have titles that make you anxious from the start, even before you turn to the first chapter. 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize. 
Near the end of this book there is a wonderful phrase: Lapidary clarity. I wish that I could say that I enjoyed that clarity while reading the book, but I was often overwhelmed with the frequent use of Spanglish and the many references to science fiction and fantasy literature. However, I understood enough to know that I was reading a remarkable work, and learning a fair bit about the Dominican Republic and its former dictator, Rafael Trujillo, as well.

What Came Before He Shot Her, by Elizabeth George.
If you are a fan of George’s Inspector Lynley mysteries (available on film from PBS), you will find this one a bit different. But you won’t be able to stop reading, as everything leads up to the murder of one of the main characters in the series, a person you have gotten to know well in the previous dozen or so titles preceding this one.

*"The pervasive sense of doom" is a phrase from the Publishers Weekly review of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

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