Kate Atkinson’s new book A God in Ruins is a companion piece to her 2013 novel Life After Life. Both books follow the Todd family in England before, during, and after World War II, focusing in particular on siblings Ursula and Teddy. In each story, Atkinson plays with the idea of time, and writes beautifully and powerfully about war. Both books are compelling in different ways; I recommend reading Life After Life first.
Set in Manhattan with some side trips to the Boston area, the first third of this book is slow-paced and the characters are vague. However, the reader will soon discover that as the details are filled in, all is not perfect in the life of the main character, Grace Sachs, a family therapist, who thinks she has a perfect marriage. Suddenly there is a murder, a mystery and a missing husband! You will read this book in a “New York minute”!
“This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This amazing book is written by a French psychiatrist, author, and meditation group leader. He blends mindfulness and meditation teachings with beautiful works of art. His writing style is clear and simple, providing an easy way to understand important points which are supported by incredible paintings. I want the whole world to read this book!
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery and make history themselves. Kurson is a dynamic writer who will give the reader some fascinating human interest stories as well as a history lesson and a scuba diving lesson. This book was a great hit with the Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group at the Weston Public Library. An engrossing read!
“Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, about the divers exploring a sunken shipwreck off the New Jersey coast, is a gripping account of real-life adventurers and a real-life mystery. In addition to being compellingly readable on every page, the book offers a unique window on the deep, almost reckless nature of the human quest to know.”–SCOTT TUROW, author of Reversible Errors
“A winning tale exceedingly well told, Shadow Divers takes us on a dangerous and seemingly quixotic descent into the murk–and then, in a fog of nitrogen narcosis, brings us back to the surface with a richer, fuller fathoming of a history we only thought we knew.”–HAMPTON SIDES, author of Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission
McCann, the author of Let the Great World Spin, has created a remarkable novel of multiple generations of fictional female characters, and has interwoven their lives with those of real historical figures in both Ireland and the United States. With the characters Lily Duggan, an Irish maid, her granddaughter, Hannah Carson, Arthur Brown, the aviator, Frederick Douglass, the former slave and abolitionist, and George Mitchell, former U.S. senator who mediated the ceasefire in Northern Ireland, the author spans continents and leaps centuries and links the New World with the Old.
Read this book once for the story line and then read it again to fully understand and follow the threads of family and history.
“One of the greatest pleasures of TransAtlantic is how provisional it makes history feel, how intimate, and intensely real. . . . Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”—The Boston Globe
“What distinguishes TransAtlantic from [Colum] McCann’s earlier work isn’t the stunning language or the psychological acuity or the humor and imagination on display—all of that has been there before. It’s the sheer ambition, the audacity to imagine within the same novel the experience of Frederick Douglass in 1845 . . . then the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 . . . then to leap into the near-present and embody the former senator George Mitchell, . . . knitting through and around them the stories of four generations of women.”—The New York Times Magazine