OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “TRUE STORIES AT THE SMOKY VIEW,” BY JILL McCROSKEY COUPE, “DAFFODILS AND FIREFLIES,” BY CLAUDIA J. TALLER, AND “ARIEL: THE FIRST GUARDIAN,” BY SYDNEY SCROGHAM, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHORS’ NAMES ON OUR “AUTHOR” PAGE.
Each of this week’s two featured books provides a strong sense of place, albeit through two different interpretations of that term.
With Laura Marello’s “Maniac Drifter,” the place is physical — the diverse, picturesque and rollicking community of Provincetown, MA (see photo above).
According to one reviewer: “Maniac Drifter is a first-rate novel, stylistically alive to the sounds, smells, and sights of unorthodox Provincetown in the 1980s. Marello’s new novel shows Provincetown’s carnival mindset, disguises, and everyday theater, and forgiveness that shames much of conventional America.”
Meanwhile, Leslie Pietrzyk uses the stories in “This Angel on My Chest” to explore an empty place in the heart, that feeling of dull despair caused by the loss of a loved one.
I am grateful, as always, for this introduction to two more talented writers.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, SEPT. 6-12.
“MANIAC DRIFTER,” BY LAURA MARELLO.
The title sounds a bit like that of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but Laura actually plays much more subtle notes in this period tale.
Writes reviewer Connie Solari: “When Harper Martin drifts into a sleepy Cape Cod resort with a mysterious investment plan, he unleashes a firestorm involving the F.B.I., the State Department, the government of Nicaragua, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. Laura Marello’s hilarious new novel features a surreal cast of characters, among them the Souza Family (“Provincetown’s version of the Kennedys. They were handsome, glamorous, Catholic and doomed”), Voodoo Woman, and a parrot named Sydney Greenstreet.
We come to know them all—fishermen, artists, drug dealers, owners of bars both gay and straight—through the lens of a winsome young amnesiac whose own past is shrouded in mystery. Marello’s passion for art and film, seen in her earlier work, helps propel the action forward to its riotous conclusion; her love for the glorious foibles of our human nature, rendered with compassion as well as humor, keeps us caring about what happens.”
“THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST,” BY LESLIE PIETRZYK.
Explains Leslie: “This Angel on My Chest is a collection of unconventionally-linked short stories, blurring the line between fact and fiction; each story is about a young woman whose husband has died, and much (though not all) of the book plays with form, including stories told as a quiz, a craft lecture about writing, an index, and a YouTube video.
“Based on my own experience of losing my husband at age thirty-seven, this book explores the resulting grief, fury, and bewilderment, mirroring the obsessive nature of grieving. The stories examine the universal issues we face at a time of loss, as well as the specific concerns of a young widow: support groups, in-laws, insurance money, dating, and remarriage. This Angel on My Chest ultimately asks, how is it possible to move forward with life while “till death do you part” rings in your ears—and, how is it possible not to?”
FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY
This month, we will revisit “The End of Men,” by C.B. Murphy, “The Big Wheel,” by Scott Arthur Jones, “The Other Side of Midnight,” by Karen Rivello, “Enchanting the Swan,” by John Schwartz, “Rare Atmosphere,” by Rachelle Rogers and “The Shark Curtain,” by Chris Scofield,