Written by Jan Kline on December 22, 2008

Just out of the Box

Three NY Times notable books arrived in Friday afternoon’s mail:

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Home, by Marilynne Robinson
Pulitzer Prize winner Robinson returns to the same small Iowa town where Gilead was set to tell a completely separate story. This time the main characters are the family of a dying minister: his 38-year-old daughter, and Jack, the bad seed, but favorite of the family. A.O. Scott of the New York Times says:

Home and Gilead are marvelous novels about family, friendship and aging. But they are great novels—or perhaps two installments in a single, as yet unfinished great novel—about race and religion in American life…

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti
Cofounder of One Story magazine, Tinti writes about 12-year-old Ren, a one-handed orphan. Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times:

Recently in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and now in The Good Thief, the reader can find plain-spoken fiction full of traditional virtues: strong plotting, pure lucidity, visceral momentum and a total absence of writerly mannerisms. In Ms. Tinti’s case that means an American Dickensian tale with touches of Harry Potterish whimsy, along with a macabre streak of spooky New England history.

The Road Home, by Rose Tremain
Whitbread Award winner Tremain writes about a widower from Eastern Europe who immigrates to London to work in a posh restaurant. Liesl Schillinger of the New York Times writes:

Journeys like Lev’s are very much a part of Britain’s present reality, with discussion of the Eastern European invasion appearing all over. But Tremain elevates the subject beyond its outlines by making Lev not a statistic or a caricature or the standard-bearer of a trend but simply a man—fully embodied, his ignoble and noble acts presented without exaggeration, without excessive praise or condemnation.

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author photos, from left:
Marilynne Robinson: George Duncan, New York Times
Hannah Tinti: Marianne Barcellona
Rose Tremain: Daily Mail, UK

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