Dear Great Book Guru, The Sea Cliff Civic Association’s Sunset Serenades at Memorial Park start Thursday, June 29 and I plan on being there every Thursday throughout the summer. I like to get there early, set up a chair, read a good book, and wait for the music to begin. Do you have something to start the summer off just right? Sunset Serenade Swooner
Dear Sunset Serenade Swooner, I too am a big fan of the Serenades and we all have its founder and chair Petrice Kaider to thank for this summer wonder. I have a short (224 pages) debut novel to recommend: CHEMISTRY by Weike Wang. Wang gives us a sly, poignant look into the life of an unnamed Chinese doctoral student who finds the pressures of the lab, love, and life overwhelming. Her faithful boyfriend Eric who has had the perfect childhood, her successful best friend , her exacting parents, her questioning therapist- all star in this drama that plays out in her mind. While some of the scenes are very, very funny, they are interspersed with grim memories of her childhood here and in China, her parents’ violence towards one another and their astonishing expectations for their only child. Throughout, we wonder how reliable a narrator she really is. Nevertheless, a very unusual coming of age novel and highly recommended!