'The Wolf Gift' by Anne Rice, 'Arctic Rising' by Tobias Buckell and 'The Third Gate' by Lincoln Child
Sooner or later it had to happen; the so-called "thriller" genre had to hit a new level, to as it were, "mature." I never would have guessed that I'd be talking to Alan Cheuse about novels by Ann Rice, Tobias Buckell and Lincoln Child and describing them as fine literature, but that's the sort of mindset that needs to be left behind. Like science fiction and the literature of the fantastic, the thriller has found a mark of literary quality without sacrificing the appeals of the genre.
Cheuse and I had a fine time picking out these books. Of course, readers know how much I liked 'The Wolf Gift' and my conversation with Anne Rice about the novel. Alan had some entertaining insights into her other work as well.
And finally, Lincoln Child; I can remember with perfect clarity my anticipation buying 'The Relic,' an early Child collaboration with Douglas Preston so long ago. In the intervening years, he's really hit his stride, with this book being his best yet. It's fun, and fun to talk about with Alan Cheuse.
04-10-12 UPDATE:Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 39 Whitley Strieber, 'Solving the Communion Enigma'
Click image for audio link.
Here's the thirty-ninth episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.
My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.
"...wouldn't it just be way easier to be a dead person these days?"
— Heidi Julavits
I remembered our last conversation so vividly that I could hardly believe that it had been six years since I last spoke with Heidi Julavits. Her new novel, 'The Vanishers' is well worth the wait. And I have to admit that I was well into the book before I realized that I had recently spoken to her husband, Ben Marcus, about his novel 'The Flame Alphabet.'
As Heidi and I sat down, we became embroiled in a conversation about other writers we liked that threatened to take most of the time we had to talk about her novel. After a quick course correction, we got started and could barely get to half the stuff I wanted to talk about – and I deliberately left out questions about big chunks of the end of the novel, which is best read in same manner as revenge is best served – cold.
I was very glad to see Julavits take a turn to the fantastic in 'The Vanishers,' since I thought her previous novel, 'The Uses of Enchantment' really had all the parts and feels of a novel of the fantastic without the actual use thereof. We talked about her research and as she describes it, "her complicated relationship to research." She also alluded to her role as teacher, which clearly informs her role as a writer.
I suppose given my recent outing with Whitley Strieber, it should not come as any surprise that I find myself to be one of those folks who can, on occasion, make the streetlights go out as I drive by. I'm sure there are statistics that explain this all away, but frankly it's the perception that counts. Whether or not the world is moved by magical forces, and the clearly this is not at all likely to be the case, we all, I suspect feel at one time or another that this is true. Julavits captures this feeling to perfection in her novel, and you can hear her capture it to perfection in our conversation by following this link to the MP3 audio file.
05-04-13: Commentary : Reasons Not to Leave the House, Reality Check : The Truth Hurts Edition: 'Down the Up Escalator' by Barbara Garson, 'The Wolf and the Watchman' by Scott C. Johnson,'The Book of Woe' by Gary Greenberg, 'Confessions of a Sociopath' by M. E. Thomas