Unbearably Good

Lately, the pickings have been AMAZING! You know that feeling you got (usually in late high-school and/or early college) when you read a book that was going to change your life? I have had that feeling lately. Which is saying a lot, since a) I have been reading voraciously for my entire life and b) you get a bit jaded after a while — many books are good, but few are great.

Interweb, I have a confession to make. Up until very recently, I had never read Toni Morrison.

I know, I know. Shocking, shameful, and all sorts of other badness. But you know, you just can’t read everything. Am I right? Anyway! I have now remedied the situation, you see, because I read and LOVED her newest, A Mercy.

A Mercy weaves the disparate narratives of a colonist and his wife, their indentured servants, and their slaves into a beautiful and sorrowful tale of early America. The forces of greed and charity, cruelty and and the titular mercy, shape and twist each of their lives into a tangled web, each yearning for a different sort of freedom, each preventing the others from attaining it. Long-time fans of Morrison will be reminded of Beloved and find much to love in this new offering; new readers (like me!) will find a great introduction to one of the major literary talents of our time.

The other breath-taking, life-changing read of late is Stephanie Kallos‘s latest masterpiece (confession #2: I haven’t read her other books either).

Sing Them Home is a walk down the long, dark tunnel to the light at the end. Larken, Gaelan, and Bonnie Jones may be grown and have lives of their own, but none of them has ever gotten over the disappearance of their mother in the tornado of 1978. When their father’s death brings them back to their hometown of Emlyn Springs, they each begin their own journey through personal darkness. Kallos’ prose is vivid and immaculately styled, her use of perspective exacting and beautifully paced, and the resolution beyond perfect. I loved each and every word in this brilliant, delicately woven novel.

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