Posts Tagged ‘American Fiction’

Calling Me Home – Julie Kibler

Posted in American Fiction, Historical Fiction on May 29th, 2013 by admin – 9 Comments

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Pan Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date
20th June 2013


My Rating
4.5 stars


Calling Me Home is a remarkable debut novel, a story which will draw you in and lead you on an emotionally fraught journey from a racially divided 1930s Kentucky to the “supposedly” more liberal present day.   There is also a physical journey, a road trip across the states, as black hairdresser, Dorrie Curtis escorts her elderly white client, Miss Isabelle,  to a funeral.  As they draw closer to their destination, Isabelle gradually reveals a secret, forbidden love, one which has haunted her since she was sixteen.

The journey is therapeutic for both ladies, especially for Dorrie who learns from Isabelle’s experience that you must seize whatever happiness life offers you no matter how fleeting the opportunity.  I was engrossed by their stories and I was impressed with the author’s control of such emotional themes, never straying into mawkishness or over-sentimentality.

A compelling read, dare I say as good as The Help, if not better…and it would make a beautiful movie too!

You can read more about the author here including excerpts from the novel to whet your appetite even more :-)

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The Family Fang – Kevin Wilson

Posted in American Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Proofs on September 9th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I do like a bit of quirkiness in my reading every now and then so I looked forward to getting my teeth (sorry!) into  ”The Family Fang”, the story of Caleb and Camille Fang and their children Annie and Buster aka Child A and Child B.   The children are now adults, trying to find their way in the real world, Annie as an actress and Buster as an author, but when their lives reach crisis point they have nowhere else to turn but back to the heart of their dysfunctional family.

The novel focuses on Annie and Buster’s current problems and their much dreaded reunion with their parents but this is interspersed with accounts of the Fang family’s past performance art including staged events at shopping malls designed to shock and awe the unwitting shoppers.  I found these episodes simultaneously hilarious and horrific, laughing at the weirdness of it all but feeling quite uncomfortable at how the children were used as unwitting pawns, all for the sake of art. 

Whilst Annie and Buster come across as fully formed, credible characters (despite their inauspicious beginnings), I was slightly disappointed by the portrayal of their parents who rarely depart from caricature mode.  Yes they are weird and surreal and I get that they strive to maintain their enigmatic aura but I would have preferred more insight into their motivation.  Having said that, I did enjoy this darkly comedic tale of family relationships.  If you liked   The Royal Tenenbaums then you will feel right at home with the freaky Fang family.

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