To the End of the Land
Just before his release from service in the Israeli army, Ora’s son Ofer is sent back to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, so that no bad news can reach her, Ora sets out on an epic hike in the Galilee. She is joined by an unlikely companion—Avram, a former friend and lover with a troubled past—and as they sleep out in the hills, Ora begins to conjure her son. Ofer’s story, as told by Ora, becomes a surprising balm both for her and for Avram—and a mother’s haunting meditation on war and family.
Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreak and mordant wit—abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
The Snow Was Dirty
Nineteen-year-old Frank—thug, thief, son of a brothel owner—gets by surprisingly well despite living in a city under military occupation, but a warm house and a full stomach are not enough to make him feel truly alive in such a climate of deceit and betrayal. During a bleak, unending winter, he embarks on a string of violent and sordid crimes that set him on a path from which he can never return.
When it comes to books, everyone has an issue for which they have no patience. For some people, it’s books about animals. For others, it’s stories narrated by children. For me, it’s suspenseful books. Only it’s not that I don’t read them, it’s that I read ahead—a behavior which, I know, makes some people burn with disbelief.
But besides books that make noise, there is nothing that irritates me more than books where I’m too distracted by pesky plot points to pay attention to the writing, the structure, and the sentences.
And so I read ahead. Not all the way ahead. Just ahead enough to release the pressure of whatever action in the story has me on the edge of my seat, thus allowing me to get back to the pleasurable activity of reading, undistracted. Here’s a list of fantastic books that made me pick up the pace.
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