Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

I just finished three novels that I blindly chose from the library...that is, I had never heard of either the titles or the authors.  Turned out that I really enjoyed two of them, and the third wasn't too bad.  I will begin with my "not too bad" read:

The Blindness of the Heart by Julia Franck had a very interesting premise.  The novel begins in 1945 and takes place in Germany.  A young mother, Helene, leaves her seven year old son in a railway station.  This is after they have survived the "horror and deprivation of the war years."   Helene never returns for her son.  Then the story goes back into Helene's childhood beginning before WWI.  It actually was a fairly interesting story, but I wanted it to tie up with the beginning of the book in a more definitive way.  The book did win the German Book Prize and was a finalist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Next I read The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson.  I enjoyed this book very much, and will try to find her first book, Crow Lake to read.  This novel begins in the 1930's with two brothers, sons of a local farmer.  One brother, Arthur, is the responsible, hard-working son.  The other brother, Jake, is charming, undependable and good-looking.  A defining moment occurs that changes everyone and everything for the brothers and their parents. (which I don't want to give away).  Later, a beautiful girl arrives in town and both brothers are quite taken with her.  Then the story moves ahead twenty years later, and a young boy in town goes to work for Arthur on his farm, and the past begins to unravel.  A very good read!

Lastly, I read The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken.  This was also a very capturing read.  It is the story of Philip Shumway, a thirteen year old boy whose sixteen year old brother, Ethan, who just disappears one day without a trace.  It is a story about how a family survives having a missing child and/or sibling.  Philip and his three sisters try to make sense of Ethan's life and his disappearance, while his parents struggle each in their own way to survive the loss.  I found this book to be very meaningful and not sad and depressing, as the topic would lend itself to be.  I liked it very much.


My favorite of the three?  I would chose The Other Side of the Bridge!  It is really enjoyable to find new-to-you books (that is, ones that you have never heard of before) and find that you really liked them!

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