August 25, 2007 archive

Lost Geography – Book Review

How long did memories last? Did they expire like medicines, get thick and unusable like old paint? -From Lost Geography, page 63-

I attended the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference in June of 2002 and had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte Bacon who was a presenter at the conference. Since she is a professor at the University of New Hampshire, we had geography in common – and I quickly bought her book which she autographed for me. Why I have waited more than five years to actually read this wonderful novel, I cannot tell you.

Lost Geography is Bacon’s debut novel (she has since published two other novels). The book spans nearly sixty years and follows four generations of a multicultural family. Bacon takes the reader around the world from the rural farmlands of Saskatchewan to the urban bustle of Toronto to the glamorous, brightly lit streets of Paris to the fog laden shops of London to the dusty roadways of Istanbul and finally to the glitter of New York City.

Bacon’s fine sense of place and lyrical descriptions make the novel a delight to read. But it is her gift at creating honest and convincing characters that keeps the reader turning the pages. Bacon uses the characters’ memories and experiences to bind them together through the years, showing us that family stories can connect one generation to the other. The idea of loss and survival, and making one’s unique way in the world while staying connected to those we love are strong themes in Lost Geography. Reading this novel was like sinking into a tub and letting the warm water wash over me. Bacon’s prose is genuine and gorgeously constructed; her characters will make you laugh and cry; and her pitch perfect descriptions of place will set you firmly in the story.


A New Blog – Notable Books

In early January of 2007, I decided to challenge myself to read 20 books from the New York Times Most Notable Book list. It started as a personal challenge and grew to include many other readers with the same ambition. A group blog was developed where participants in the challenge developed challenge lists and posted reviews of the books they read. Some lively discussions have ensued! Because of the enthusiastic response to that challenge, I decided to expand things a bit.

The Notable Books Blog will include notable book lists from a variety of sources (not just the New York Times). Notable book lists will begin with 2007 lists (with the exception of the NYT Most Notable, which will begin with the 2008 list). The New York Times Most Notable Blog still exists – and it will be up to Ariel at Sycorax Pine if the challenge will continue for 2008. If it does, my hope is that contributors will cross post their reviews to both blogs!

Although there will be no formal challenge guidelines, participants to The Notable Book Blog will be encouraged to challenge themselves to read books from the lists and post reviews to the site. Cross posting to personal blogs is permitted (and encouraged!).

If you’d like to become a contributor to my new blog, please click on over there and request an invitation!

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