Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, Every Thursday at 7pm you can find me at the Sea Cliff Civic Association's Sunset Serenades at Memorial Park- last week it was the Corda Family- they were great and this week- Kris Rice- what fun! Well, while I was there someone told me that Heather and John Kenny were going on and on about a wonderful author you had recommended. Do you remember who it is and is there a particular book of his/hers I might enjoy? Sunset Serenade Super Fan

Dear Super Fan, Yes, those Sunset Serenades epitomize a Sea Cliff summer for me too. The last time I spoke with Heather Kenny we discussed Stewart O'Nan at great length so I am confident this is the author you are searching for - I have recommended three of his books: WISH YOU WERE HERE, EMILY ALONE, and LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER. Today I would like to suggest a fourth: SNOW ANGELS. This novel (330 pages but a very quick read) traces two families' intersecting lives: Annie, her parents, young daughter Tara, and her estranged husband Glenn; and Arthur Parkinson, his sister Astrid and his parents Louise and Don who are in the midst of a bitter divorce.When the story opens , Arthur is fourteen, living a life of quiet desperation - smoking marijuana, skipping class and hanging out with his classmate- Warren is Sancho Panza to Arthur's Don Quixote and there are many windmills tilted before the book closes. Annie, Arthur's beloved babysitter now a grown woman with her own child, has just been found murdered and it is not until the end of the book that we learn who the killer is. But the story is not a crime novel but instead a detailed examination of families who love each other but who hurt one another over and over in the most cruel and banal of ways. You will remember these characters long after you have finished the book.

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