Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Reads

A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
The Echoing Grove by Rosamund Lehmann
How to be both by Ali Smith
At Break of Day by Elizabeth Speller

Clever. That's one word to describe Ali Smith, and in the spirit of Smith, I should mention that "clever" comes from the Middle English for "quick to catch hold," and the sound probably comes from the Dutch word meaning "cleave," as in to split in half. Certainly then, "clever" is a word that aptly describes Smith's new book, How to be both, of two halves. As per usual, I love Smith's work. She understands the intricacies of language, knows how to twist, pull, and stretch words while maintaining a beautiful emotional connection between characters and form.

At Break of Day was okay. Nothing particularly noteworthy. The Poisonwood Bible was much better than I had been expecting. Lehmann's novel was a bit too introspective to be entirely successful at its premise, but at least Lehmann's control of language and metaphor is masterful. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie had a fun clever structure, but not all of its individual parts were successful. Casey Plett's collection of short stories was great! An Untamed State is a novel I'll never read again, if only because it was far too harrowing.