Monday, May 18, 2015

Thanks to my friend Regina for coordinating a trip to Woodland Gardens for a free Yoga class last Thursday! It also motivated me to visit a class at the local rec center on Saturday morning after I began mowing my jungle in the front yard and met my new next door neighbors.

Here are two books I've read in the past four months that I did spend time reflecting on.

Land of love and drowning is Tiphanie Yanique's first novel, and it's a fascinating one. The action follows the lives of two sisters, Eona and Annette, from their childhood (and the transfer of the Dutch Virgin Islands to the USA) through much of the twentieth century.

The sisters are over a decade apart in age, and consequently, their experiences and expectations are quite different. I quite enjoyed the differences in dialogue, the puzzle of what was “real” or “magically real” and particularly the development of Eona’s character over time.

The story touches on many themes and blends history and folklore into what I eventually found an enchanting and haunting tale. The book was a slow starter for me, and I am grateful to the Literary fiction by people of color group on Goodreads for helping me finally finish the story.

Thanks to the early reviewers program on Library Thing for providing a copy of this novel for review consideration.

  Friedhelm Lubisch founded a respected construction company and donated a fortune to the Association of Displaced Persons in Germany. But his son Robert never lived up to his expectations.

While going through his deceased father's papers, Robert is reminded of the story his father told him of stealing a dead SS guard's papers and running away from the war front. He also finds a photograph of an unidentified woman from the same time period, and decides to try and identify her.

This novel deftly weaves past and present together to consider the question of identity. What makes us who we are? Our family? Our actions? Our secrets? What is the cost of keeping secrets? Or of breaking silence? The past is the relationships and actions of five young men and women, close friends on the eve of World War II, who are separated by actions and ideaology. The present is Robert's search for the identity of the woman in his father's photo. The intersection of the two results in a murder and the uncovering of at least two secrets.

First published in Germany as Wer das Schweigen bricht (the one who breaks the silence), this novel won the 2012 Deustcher Krimi prize for best crime novel. Translated into English by Aubrey Botsford.

I received an electronic copy of Silence by Mechtild Borrmann from NetGalley for review consideration.
Why do I feel so busy lately? Maybe because I am? This week I'll be home two nights out of 5. Work one night, but the other two are fun things: first class on playing fiddle/singing with a group, and a rehearsal with Voices of Love, my threshold choir.

Three books finished, but I'm not really commenting on these, other than to say, yes, I enjoyed them.