Three works of fiction that have garnered a lot of praise of late:
- Brady Udall's third book, The Lonely Polygamist, has created a lot of buzz recently. It's been called a "serious contender for great American novel status" by Publishers Weekly. It's a sort of comedic look at Mormon life; about a man with 4 wives and 28 children. I suppose this title plays into our fascination with alternative lifestyles. The author has been compared to Dickens, John Irving, and Kesey among others. His previous work The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint received great reviews as well. This one sounds like it's worth a peek.
- The Island Beneath the Sea is, Chilean author, Isabel Allende's latest historical novel. About slavery in late 18th century colony of Saint-Domingue, the story follows a slave owner, Talouse Valmorain and his African slaves over four decades from Hispaniola through Cuba, and finally to New Orleans. Allende is probably best known for her The House of the Spirits, which was made into a film starring Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep. NPR offers a favorable review of her new novel plus an excerpt here.
- Sophomore novelist Glenn Taylor, who gained attention from the National Books Critic Circle for his first effort, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, scores again with The Marrowbone Marble Company. The book deals with, among others issues, post WWII racism: A marine veteran, Loyal Ledford, teams up with his part-Indian cousins and an African-American family to start up a marble manufacturing company in rural West Virginia. Taylor has been compared to Richard Russo and Cormac McCarthy among others.