Author: David Vann
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2015
Summary/Review: David Vann is a master of family dysfunction. Hidden within his beautiful writing lurk some of the cruelest and manipulative characters you will ever meet. His newest novel, AQUARIUM, is no exception. This one, however, allows for some hope which isn’t always the case with Vann.
Twelve year old Caitlin lives with her single mother, Sheri, in Seattle. Sheri is struggling as a single mother, working full time while trying to build a good life for herself and her daughter. Since, according to Sheri, they are all alone in the world, Caitlin is left alone for long periods while Sheri is at work. Caitlin is dropped off at school early in the morning and heads to the local aquarium after to school to wait for her ride home. It is at the aquarium that she meets a very kind elderly man who takes an interest in Caitlin and keeps her company while she waits for Sheri to pick her up. When Sheri learns of this friendship, she is consumed with an uncontrollable rage and her haunted past comes roaring back with a vengeance.
Sometimes there’s just no way to tell how damaged a person really is until they are forced to confront the demons from their past.
Who will like this?: Someone who’s not turned off by dysfunction. Someone looking for a thrilling read.
If you like this, try this: other David Vann novels, FATHER OF THE RAIN BY Lily King, DROWNED, by Therese Bohman, and DISQUIET by Julia Leigh.
If you think you’d like this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold.
Title: The Tale of Halcyon Crane
Author: Wendy Webb
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc., March 2010
Summary: Hallie James has lived her life believing that her mother Madlyn was killed in a fire when Hallie was a small child. Now 35 years old, Hallie is dealing with her divorce and her father’s terminal illness. When she receives an envelope in the mail, she is shocked to find it contains a letter from her mother. As it turns out, Madlyn has lived the last 30 years believing that Hallie and her father were killed in a kayaking accident on the lake. The letter from Madlyn is accompanied by a letter from her attorney breaking the news that Madlyn has recently passed away. In order to find out why her father went to such lengths to keep her from her mother, Hallie travels to her mother’s home on Grand Manitou, a remote island in the Great Lakes. It isn’t long before Hallie realizes that something supernatural inhabits the mansion and grounds which she has just inherited.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane is an unnerving ghost story that’s setting on a secluded island makes it even creepier.
Who will like this book? Ghost story aficionados.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator
Title: The Other
Author: David Guterson
Summary: David Guterson, the author of the PEN/Faulkner-winning Snow Falling on Cedars, has written an exquisite story about a transcendent friendship between two very different men. John William Barry and Neil Countryman cross paths at a high school track event, and that chance meeting connects them for the rest of their lives. While Neil comes from a modest background and leads a modest life, John William is a child of privilege and wealth. Together the two share their love of hiking and the outdoors – we are treated to some beautifully written passages describing the wilds of the Pacific Northwest – and share a bond, a literal blood oath, that is unbreakable, even as their lives continue in seemingly opposite directions. Neil becomes a teacher, marries and has a family, but John William retreats from society, moving permanently into a cave deep in the woods. Neil is the only one who knows where he is, and keeps this secret even though it weighs heavily on him. John William rewards him for this ultimate act of friendship him in an unfathomable way.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘other’ as “being the one left.” It may seem as though John William is the other in this relationship simply by his act of becoming a hermit. But Neil is also an ‘other,’ the half that stays behind, lives the conventional life, and yet is haunted by the same question that John William struggles with – what is it that really matters in life. It appears as though they are each living the opposite answers to that question. In doing so, they complete each other.
Who will like this book? Anyone who enjoyed Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
If you like this try: East of the Mountains by David Guterson
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian