Popular in the 1970s, gothic romance was defined by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca: dark and stormy night, castle or manor house with frightened fleeing maiden in a nightgown on the book cover. Other popular authors in this genre included Anya Seton, Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden and Victoria Holt. For the past two decades, fewer gothics have been written —until now. The new gothics are similar to the old ones — with less romance and more horror.
The River Wife by Jonis Agee
In 1930, when she arrives in the remote Missouri boot heel, the newest DuCharme wife, young Hedi, discovers a legacy of piracy, illicit love, murder and deceit and faces her own trials when it seems her new husband is carrying on the family tradition. Continue reading “The New Gothics: less romance, more horror”
Okay, so it is over. Case closed. After five captivating years, HBO’s lauded series The Wire calls it a wrap. Now what do we do? Aside from chain-watching DVDs of the series (and its excellent Baltimore precursor, Homicide: Life on the Street), we’re seeing a lot of Wire fans in withdrawal are turning to books to prolong the feeling. This is hardly surprising given the series’ strong literary ties. Here are some of our favorite gritty tales of the street from Baltimore and beyond:
- The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood, by David Simon and Edward Burns. It all starts here, with this searing, compassionate account of the hard realities underlying America’s drug culture and its victims. Wire co-creators Simon and Burns refuse to oversimplify an intractable problem twisted up with issues of race, class and unbridled capitalism. See also Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.
- The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos
This insightful story of an old unsolved crime and its lingering effects on three police is just the latest in a succession of outstanding novels stirring up the murky moral depths on both sides of the law, by a prolific Washington DC author and Wire contributor.
- Mystic River, by Dennis LeHane
After penning five terrific Boston-based hardboiled mysteries, Wire contributor Lehane had a major breakthrough with this richly textured, haunting psychological thriller about the hidden wellsprings and lasting effects of crime.
- Lush Life, by Richard Price
Another accomplished writer recruited into The Wire’s stellar stable, Price’s unflinching, morally-complex crime Continue reading “The Wire finale: now what? (A reading list).”
A War is not one story, but many.
Here is the second of three lists of fiction that views the war through many eyes, reflecting the diverse experiences of civilians and soldiers around the world whose lives were drawn into the Second World War.
As the war draws to its close, the lives of men and women in a rural Kentucky town are indelibly changed whether they are returning from the front lines or waiting back at home.
Humor and pathos punctuate this coming-of-age novel in which Josh, a witty 17-year-old, navigates Continue reading “The War in Fiction, part 2: The Home Front”
A War is not one story, but many.
Here is the first of three lists of fiction that views the war through many eyes, reflecting the diverse experiences of civilians and soldiers around the world whose lives were drawn into the Second World War.
- Articles of War by Nick Arvin. Sent to Normandy in 1944, Iowa farm boy George ‘Heck’ Tilson’s all-too-human response to the war’s perilous chaos – to run away – will lead him through the fire towards an unforeseen and terrible duty.
- Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris. Now sixty and a widow, Framboise Dartigen returns to her childhood village in France, to uncover painful secrets in her family’s past, and her mother’s curious relationship with the town’s German occupiers.
- The Stalin Front by Gert Ledig. Eastern front veteran Ledig fully conveys the nightmarish enormity of total war in this gut-wrenching novel of the hell unleashed on earth when Hitler Continue reading “The War in fiction, part 1: Europe”