Archive | Book Reviews

Pat Conroy’s South of Broad (a Review)

South of Broad (2009) was my first taste of Pat Conroy, the author of The Great Santini (1976) and The Prince of Tides (1986)–neither of which I’ve read, but both of which are familiar titles because both were made into popular movies. What I appreciate most about South of Broad is the book’s organization. The […]

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The Strangers Among Us: Three Novels by Elizabeth Brundage

The Doctor’s Wife (Plume, 2005) Somebody Else’s Daughter (Plume, 2009) A Stranger Like You (Plume, 2011) There are many things to praise about Elizabeth Brundage’s novels. She tackles controversial topics innovatively through the interplay of highly drawn-out characters; she is in command of the language––the reader is never jerked out of the story by a […]

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How Two Novels Handle Contemporary Issues

How skillfully novelists handle contemporary issues can distinguish an average story from a very good one. Two books I read recently for book clubs help us see the rewards of mastering this aspect of fiction writing. Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage (Viking, 2008) Somebody Else’s Daughter would have been a worthwhile read had Brundage […]

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Everything Happens on Telegraph Avenue

In one sense, not a lot happens in Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. In fact, you could summarize the plot in a sentence or two. (I won’t give it away.) But, on another level, Telegraph Avenue is the center of our cultural universe circa 2010. Narrowly viewed, Telegraph Avenue presents a cultural history of Oakland CA […]

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