This month we’re starting with The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.
I have not read this Booker prize winning novel, and honestly, I don’t intend to anytime soon. However, Catton is a graduate of the Iowa’s Writers Workshop, which has produced many authors I’ve loved (including…), but perhaps my favorite is Maggie Shipstead. Her brilliant, witty Seating Arrangements was one of my favorite books of 2012. It tells the tale of an east coast island wedding gone awry.
Another novel that tells the tale of an east coast wedding in near perfect prose is That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. He is one of my favorite contemporary authors and I always trust his recommendations, so when he blurbed the upcoming The Spark and The Drive, I knew I’d be reading it. The author was kind enough to contact me and send me a copy. I have not been disappointed thus far. Set against the backdrop of an auto garage, driving and cars play an important role within the novel.
Another novel that features driving in a pivotal role is Drive by James Sallis, which tells the story of what should be a simple drive going very, very wrong.
Another book that features a road trip from hell is (the book I manage to mention every chance I get) Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time. In terms of structure and plot, it’s one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read.
For me, it’s reminiscent of the structure in John Gardner’s forgotten classic Nickel Mountain – an uncommon, unexpected love story. The novel features on “the gradual revelation of the bond that develops as this unlikely couple experiences courtship and marriage, the birth of a son, isolation, forgiveness, work, and death in a small Catskill community in the 1950s”.
So there you have it, from nineteenth century New Zealand to the impoverished Catskills in six easy steps.