Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dear Great Book Guru,  We have had  a great couple of weeks here in Sea Cliff-  Starry Starry Night, the Progressive Dinner, Cider Social, - all organized by the Sea Cliff Civic Association- and now the Pet and Puppet Parade at noon on Halloween - what fun! Do you have a serious but short book for me to read this busy holiday weekend?    Halloween Happening Enthusiast

Dear Halloween Happening Enthusiast,   I met recently with  Eileen Heneghan, a  voracious and discriminating  reader, and we both agreed THE THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING by Colum McCann is one of the finest books either of us has read this year.   A collection of short fiction- a novella and three short stories, this book delves into the inner lives of its characters in a manner reminiscent of James Joyce.  In the 143 page novella, an elderly judge goes about his day contemplating the indignities of aging, mourning his  late wife, planning the rituals of a good meal,  while in alternating chapters the police are scanning a myriad of  surveillance videos that have recorded his actions up to and including his murder.  We see what he sees but we also see what the videos have recorded and there are huge discrepancies. What really did happen? The three short stories while wonderful, do not have the sharp impact of the opening novella.  An elderly nun catches a glimpse on camera of a man who had kidnapped and brutalized her decades ago, a middle-aged woman fears her autistic son has drowned because of her carelessness, and a young writer struggles to complete an assignment.  All are excellent, but if time is short, make sure you  read the opening tale.  Highly, highly recommended!

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