Saturday, December 15, 2012
The Books We Want for the Holidays: Reading Group Picks
For the fans of Cutting for Stone, allow me to recommend The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. The book starts in New York, the present day, when a happy family is suddenly thrown into turmoil when Julia's father, a Burmese native and lawyer, disappears one day. Julia and her mother are at a loss, as nothing had occurred would suggest a sudden departure. Julia goes in search of her father to his home country, and slowly the story of his childhood and the amazing relationship he shared with a girl emerge. This is a story of soul mates, enduring love, family, and acceptance that manages to be moving without being trite.
As all of the Best of the Year lists roll out, I keep looking for Toni Morrison's new novel, Home, and wondering how it can continue to be overlooked. This book is great, a return to the Toni Morrison who wrote Beloved and Sula, two of my favorite books. Frank Money is a broken man, a soldier returning from the Korean War and suffering from the effects of combat trauma. On top of the horrors he's witnessed, he's moving from an integrated society (the military) back into the segregated world of the 1950's United States. Frank finds himself in the Pacific Northwest after he's discharged, but he has to find his way home to Georgia, to help his sister. This is a tight novel that takes no wrong turns leaves plenty of space for discussion. (The paperback of Home goes on sale January 1st.)