OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “DOC HARRISON AND THE APOCALYPSE,” BY PETER TELEP, “WE TAKE ME APART,” BY MOLLY GAUDRY AND “PIRATE SUMMER,” BY HL CARPENTER, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.
On the day before this most American of holidays, it seems appropriate to present a novel wrapped around Henry David Thoreau, one of the most American of writers.
Norman Lock’s “A Fugitive in Walden Woods” also reminds us that literature does not travel in a straight line, each major figure forgotten as the next one arrives. Rather, it often leapfrogs back to resurrect these iconic writers in a new context.
In this case, Lock has grafted two compelling American stories together — the magical aura of Thoreau’s Walden Pond and the tense drama of a fugitive slave’s escape.
Meanwhile, Bonnie Rozanski has connected two main characters with mental challenges in “Banana Kiss.” The result is a novel that is alternately poignant, disturbing and funny.
This is also the week for our monthly “First Tuesday Replay.”
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JULY 4-10.
“BANANA KISS,” BY BONNIE ROZANSKI
Robin Farber lives in a psychiatric institution. In her mind, she creates the world by looking at it: a quantum theory-world where matter pops in and out of existence as she observes it, a world where she is God. And, because the reader of BANANA KISS must take a long look through her schizophrenic eyes, this is our world, too, a world where the disembodied voices Robin hears are more real than the people who stand in front of her.
Robin’s world is populated by a rich variety of characters, both real and imaginary. Her father, a sailor who died when she was a baby, shows up in her head whenever he’s on leave. Derek, her charming, lovelorn friend, goes from mania to depression and back several times a day. There’s her insufferable sister Melissa, who stole her boyfriend, Max. And, of course, there’s Dr. Mankiewicz, or “Whitecoat,” the long-suffering therapist who, Robin tells us, “thinks there are some things that are real, and some things that are not, and that he knows better than anyone else.” Finally, there is Robin herself, whose confused, psychotic, funny, compassionate voice is one you are not likely to forget.
“A FUGITIVE IN WALDEN WOODS,” BY NORMAN LOCK.
Having escaped a Virginia plantation, Samuel Long, a fugitive slave, must now begin the hard work of shaping himself as a man in relation to his newly acquired freedom and to a community of men where his role and identity are not clearly defined. Sharing Walden Woods with Henry Thoreau and ideas concerning human dignity and purpose with Emerson, Hawthorne, William Lloyd Garrison, and other Transcendentalists and Abolitionists, Long will experience his coming into full consciousness – and manhood – at Walden Pond, where, along with Thoreau, he will be tested in a final and climactic act of civil disobedience.
FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY
This month, we revisit Patty Wiseman’s “An Unlikely Arrangement,” Jack Strandburg’s “Hustle Henry and the Cue Ball Kid,” Michael White’s “Resting Places,” John McDonnell’s “The Rose of Skibbereen,” John Fahey’s “Survival; and “Fractured,” by Erin Britt.