Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Three Reviews in Brief

Fresh out in hardcover, these are brief reviews of a few new books I'm recommending. The first is especially a strong contender as my favorite book of Spring.

Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead

A perfect, beautiful child of Cormac McCarthy and Tom Franklin, Robert Olmstead’s Coal Black Horse brings to life the bloody, horrific details that make up people and land of the Civil War while illuminating the journey of a boy and his horse: a powerful, starkly honest path leading from boy to man. The graphic, violent images are both prosaic and poetic, but the lessons are only of hope and promise. One needs to travel through hell and back in order to see the brightest lights. Wow.

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

What makes us finally grow up? Is it the discovery of love? Loss? Or the realization that everything is transient, sifting? More than a coming-of-age story, Aryn Kyle brings us the exquisitely wrought story of Alice Winston, a heroine in her own right, as she endures heartbreak after heartbreak over a span of time that marks her transition from child to young woman. We all have that moment in time, a span of minutes or months, that changes us forever - in what will always feel like an instant. Solid writing that is stunning to the last word, Kyle makes Alice's dark, hard world - beautiful. Just don't judge this book by its cover.

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

A young Australian woman emigrates to New York City only to get acquainted with a group of castaways who together shed their not-so-dull every day lives working in a used bookstore as they are caught up in a literary secret that changes their lives forever. A delightful piece of fiction that propels you forward in anticipation of what will happen next at the same time that your heart is warmed by the light that shines from the oddest of characters. This is a story about people and their connections to one another; about the families we create when we are far from our kin and how they change us forever - for the better.

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