Out Loud  / new fiction

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Two Very Unmerry Reads for the Darkest Time of Year

If you can’t stand another made for TV version of “The Christmas Carol”, if you go homicidal if you someone suggests watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” again, and if you change your Facebook timeline photo to the Grinch this time

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Capital, by John Lanchester

This wrist-breaker is hard to do justice to. Centering on one block of well-to-do Pepys Road in London, it has so many characters that more than once I had to stop and flip some pages: “Wait. WHO is this again?”

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Bad Parenting, Seattle Division, and a Quick Trip to Italy

Continuing with my theme of arguments for contraception and/or abstinence, I recently read Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. One of the most complex characters I’ve had the pleasure to encounter lately, Bernadette is an ex-architect, wife of a

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

I dragged my feet on reading this one, despite all the great reviews: after all, it was about baseball, wasn’t it? and I wasn’t interested in a book about baseball, no matter how well written. But The Art of Fielding

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Bad Parenting 101

I seem to be on a jag of novels with very bad parents as major characters. First came the master manipulators: Caleb and Camille Fang of The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson, are performance artists who refer to their children,

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Some Reads for Summer

Here are a few titles I’ve enjoyed recently. The New Republic, by Lionel Shriver. I enjoyed her 2010 novel So Much for That, so looked forward to reading this one. Shriver’s humor is pitch black, and this one is no

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Two Great Coming-of-Age Novels for Summer

Summer seems conducive to digging into a hefty novel that follows a main character through some life-changing challenges. Here are a couple of my recent favorites, the first with a summer appropriate swamp setting. These are two very different books.

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Lost Memory of Skin, by Russell Banks

Russell Banks isn’t known for writing happy, uplifting stories: The Sweet Hereafter, for example, is about the aftermath of a school bus accident with multiple child fatalities. His characters usually are gritty, working class, and often violent. In his latest

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

The Tiger’s Wife, by Téa Obreht

This novel, or at least half of it, could almost be described as Balkan magical realism. The main characters are Natalia, a young doctor, and her grandfather, also a doctor, who has recently died under somewhat questionable circumstances. That makes

Written by Jan Kline three years ago

Two Hauntings: A Summer of Drowning, and Wayward Saints

On the surface, a supernatural psychological mystery set above the Arctic Circle, and a rock and roll comedy that bounces between San Francisco and upstate New York don’t seem to have much in common. But as different as these two

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