I read three good books the other week. I feel very fortunate. Most of the time I will read five books and only find one that I liked. In this case, I not only enjoyed each book, but also was suitably impressed. The books I read were: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, and Under this Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a big and brash fantasy novel. When I first heard the title I thought it was a book about Scottish intrigue! LOL. Although the book is set in a fictitious land with fictitious events and characters, there is a strong Old-World feel to the whole setting. The book focuses on the lives of some con artists who make their living deceiving some unsuspecting prey. A little over usage of the F-word in my opinion, but it has all the gritty, adventurous bravado that I find entertaining. There were a few hokey scenes as well as one or two obvious revelations towards the end of the book, but other than that it was a fun, solid read.
I have been a fan of Kingsolver for years. I completely freaked out when I first saw she had released a new book, and I couldn’t wait to get out of school to read it. As a side note, I must say the cover was not a high selling point for me. Anyway, as much as I completely anticipated the joys of reading The Lacuna, it took me a while to get into the book. The subject matter and the style seemed vastly different from her other works. However, like the master writer that she is, once I read a chapter or two, I was completely drawn into the lives of Kingsolver’s characters. The book follows the life of a man who as a boy encounters individuals like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The book is part coming-of-age, part political rant, part history, and part epic novel. It probably wouldn’t appeal to the majority of readers, but Kingsolver is such a very gifted and intelligent writer that it is worth reading whatever form of book she writes.
And last but not least, Under this Unbroken Sky is a debut novel that just blew me away. First off, the writing was so elegant and beautiful that it almost was like reading prose poetry at times. The book is slow and simple at times, but gently humorous and thought provoking as well. Mitchell inserts small details about her characters, and the result is very convincing. The book follows the lives of some immigrant families from Ukraine who set up their homestead in Canada. A host of interpersonal drama and family conflict add a layer of intensity. The unforgiving and difficult terrain adds another source of tension and power to the plot. Overall, it was a very satisfying read. I can’t wait to see what else this author has to offer!
Right now I am finishing this week up with another stack of books. They are all good so far. I’ll run out another summary at a later point. Until next time…