The Woman on the Stairs, Bernhard Schlink. Beautiful gem of a read. Sweet reckoning. Irene, the young woman on the stairs in a painting brings three men together to confront old age and their disparate pasts in Germany. Each evaluates his life as Irene reunites them on her isolated island in Australia as she faces death. All of them loved her in different ways. Possessive, obsessive, unconditional. It’s the third that is an intimate poignant connection. A story of loneliness, regret, then peace. Subtle mysteries, but not a thriller by any means. It’s a translation from the German, yet well done.
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead. The story of Cora. A young slave who runs away from her Georgia plantation. The plot follows her harrowing life as she is pursued by an obsessed Javert-esque slave catcher. Her travels take her on a real underground railroad in dark boxcars to different cities as she tries to make it to freedom. Violent and gory scenes. As was realistic. Yet. An allegorical journey. Being black in America is fraught with peril. From Cora to Trayvon. Kindnesses and horrors along the way. Stations of the Cross? To be made into a movie by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins.
FBI’s revelation of an investigation into Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia in the election. Since last July. Intelligence committee chair goes rogue with news of Dem’s counter surveillance. Supreme Court hearings. Keystone Pipeline gets the go-ahead. Paul Ryan can’t whip enough House votes to overturn ObamaCare. Poor Speaker. Wisconsin couldn’t even pull out a win in overtime.
Brackets finished. No picks left. A good book complete. The Woman on the Stairs, Bernhard Schlink. It all happened in a blink.
Two modern mysteries for cold and windy March days. Both good in different ways.
Dark Rooms, Lili Anolik. Billed as a Secret History prep murder redux. Not that at all. Set in (West?) Hartford, Connecticut, the boarding school itself never came to life. Grace’s sister Nica is found dead from a gunshot wound in the nearby cemetery. Plot twists yes. Many reviewers had issues with the so-called “rapist” in the plot. Not. It portrayed a mother’s extraordinary evil.
The Girl Before, JP Delaney. Sad that so many recent best-sellers have ‘girl’ rather than more accurate ‘woman’ in the titles. Gone Girl. Girl on the Train. Anyway. Another back and forth- this one between two women. Emma then. Jane now. A device that worked well here and even melded the two when it was right to do so. An austere technocratic architecturally-renowned house in London the setting for this psycho-drama. Soon a Ron Howard movie.
Global warming? Balmy February in New York. Rowboats on the Lake.
Bannon’s economic nationalism. Dismantling administrative state. Trump golfing with Els and McIlroy. The new abnormal.
Books are still normal. Just finished a good one. The Honeymoon, Dinitia Smith. A novel about literary icon George Eliot’s life and last honeymoon. Which was a doozy. See review here. Oscars. Ho-hum. This year.
News of the World, Paulette Jiles. Our second NYC Book Club pick. A short sweet novel. Jefferson “Captain” Kidd reads the news of the world, literally, to small town Texas folk in the 1870’s. The gentleman widower rides on horseback from town to town regaling people with tales from around the world for a dime. He is a welcomed attraction. Intellectual, articulate, well-mannered. Then. He accepts a mission to return a 10-year old girl who has been “rescued” from captivity by the Kiowa Indians to her relatives. Along the way adventures ensue and an endearing relationship is beautifully portrayed.
The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Melanie Benjamin. Conjuring Dominick Dunne. Gossipy. Juicy. Dishy fiction. Truman Capote & Upper Fifth Avenue “social x-rays” of the 50’s-70’s. Women who traded on their looks to snag the richest if otherwise unappealing men of their time. Superficial. Lonely. Materialistic. Narcissistic. Yup. All of that. Bill & Babe Paley. Pamela Harriman. Name dropping on every page. If only half the stories were true. Lots of fun to read.
Nope. Not many real snowflakes this winter. At least not in the City. Not yet. But. To all you snowflakes out there. Huddled in your safe zones. In denial that the Pats are owned by Trump buddy Bob Kraft. And that recent golf partner Tiger missed the cut.
Here are 3 suggestions to thwart TTSD: 1) Watch old episodes of Billy on the Street. 2) Read spy novels by Alex Berenson. 3) Listen to Bruce Springsteen read his autobiography.
Hasta Luego to our doorman Pedro. 42 years at the same building. West Side Rag.
“He was spurred on by the conviction that the world needed his immediate presence.” -Cervantes
Tilting at every windmill. Chasing larger-than-life glory. In gilded armor, Don is saddled up and ready to ride into Washington, D.C. The knight-errant has zig-zagged through life to become El-Jefe-in-Chief. El Hidalgo Trumpo de Queens makes it to the top of the peak. From his White House Castillo with loyal little Sancho Penza in tow they’ll take on foes from far and wide. Will it be Aldonza Melania or Dulcinea Ivanka by his side. ¿¡Viva!? o ¿¡Cuidado!?