Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reading - Carry me Down

Carry me Down by M. J. Hyland

At 11, John Egan is nearly six feet tall with a deep voice, and he feels like a freak, especially after he wets himself in class. John believes he is a gifted human lie detector, and he himself is a great liar; his obsession is to be famous and have his gift recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records, but until then, he must deal with the destructive undercurrents of his loving but fragile family.

But why is Dad lying? The child's naive first-person, present-tense narrative brings achingly close his helplessness in a powerful adult world. He may be a giant, but he has no control. Why suddenly is the family moving? Where to? What is wrong? When they land up in the public-housing projects in Dublin, the scary threat seems to be from a brutal street gang, but the real terror turns out to be in the intimacy of his home. John finds himself in a hostile world where certainty is lost. Even his relationship with his mother - a bond which is peculiarly close - begins to break down. Amid the confusion, John can rely on only one thing : his ability to detect lies. But John's obsession with uncovering the truth soon becomes a violent and frightening fixation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reading - The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

On the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reading - Can You Keep a Secret ?

Can You Keep a Secret ? by Sophie Kinsella

Emma, a marketing assistant, directs towards the handsome man sitting next to her on a turbulent flight between Glasgow and London. Emma spills intimate details about her G-string, G-spot, the fact that she's never been in love and much more. But to Emma's chagrin, the handsome man on the plane turns out to be Jack Harper, CEO of her company. Emma hopes Jack will forget all about her, but he seems bent on getting to know her, first forcing her to admit she deserves better than her boring boyfriend Conor, then convincing her that he is a better choice. Although he never seems to share his own secrets, Emma can't help falling in love with Jack and his glamorous lifestyle. But then the unthinkable happens—Jack reveals Emma's secrets on national television in front of her family, friends and co-workers. What happens next? That's a secret.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Reading - Now & Then

Now & Then by Robert B. Parker

When a client who suspects his wife is cheating on him is murdered, the Boston PI takes it personally, not only because the case resonates with Spenser's past history with love interest Susan, but also because, like Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, Spenser feels he can't let a client get murdered without doing something about it. The repartee is up to Parker's high standards, and the detection is hands on and straightforward, with Spenser carrying the load. Since Spenser's aides, including the stalwart Hawke, outclass the heavies, Spenser has time to deal with the mysterious other man, Perry Alderson, whose academic background appears as suspect as his dealings with various subversive groups. This briskly paced cat-and-mouse game offers Spenser fans exactly what they've come to expect from the reliable Parker—no-nonsense action and plenty of romantic give-and-take between Susan and Spenser, who even find the subject of marriage intruding once more.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Reading - The Fifth Child

The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

Harriet and David, both conservative, old-fashioned and out of step with the liberated '60s, meet in London and know immediately that they are meant to marry. They buy a white elephant of a house in the suburbs and begin to fill its many bedrooms with children. Smugly determined to create a happy family, they unashamedly sponge off David's father and exploit Harriet's mother as an unpaid nanny. The first four children are adorable, but when Harriet becomes pregnant for the fifth time, she realizes that this baby is different. Painfully active in the womb, newborn Ben seems more like a monster than child; Harriet thinks he is a throwback to humanity's primitive forebears. Howling and raging, enormously strong, Ben inspires fear and horror. After he strangles two pets and menaces his siblings, David sends him away to an institution. Harriet is compelled to bring him home, but his presence irrevocably destroys family harmony.

Harriet's fear grows as she struggles to love and care for the child, finding herself faced with a dark sub-continent of human nature, unable to cope.