Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden

I heard an interview with McFadden on NPR and thought this book would be worth reading. Set in a time span of almost a century, Gathering of Waters has a unique perspective--it is first person in the perspective of the town of Money, Mississippi. The "town" chronicles the struggles of African Americans and the many complicated relationships they have with their white neighbors. The plot centers around a charismatic young man named Emmett Till who is brutally murdered by two men. A spirit named Esther inhabits several of the characters and ties their lives together by acts of violence and promiscuity. Esther really is a bad seed, and spoils all that she touches. McFadden is a talented writer whose words are rich and well chosen. This is a fast, good read.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I was initially drawn to this book because I love the idea of apocalyptic satire, and I sensed that this book would take me there. It did. The idea is that "some" people were taken, disappeared with no rhyme nor reason, and the loved ones who were left over were expected to carry on and live their lives as normal. The characters in The Leftovers were well layered and not always predictable. I especially enjoyed following the intentions of a cult group called the Guilty Remnant, who were forced to watch people, wear white, and smoke. Many archetypal personalities are represented in this book. My favorite part was the last page--a one sentence surprise ending that was so sweet and pure, it pretty much sealed the deal for me.