“The Sunshine When She’s Gone” by Thea Goodman describes the lives of a 30-something NYC couple when the husband decides to take the baby out for a walk one morning to allow his wife some extra sleep and ends up going on an impulsive trip to Barbados. Veronica and John have grown unhappy and apart since the birth of their baby daughter 18 months ago. The birth had complications and Veronica had an emergency hysterectomy along with the c-section. Back at work, she is exhausted and feels broken. John doesn’t know how to help her. His 3-day trip to Barbados surprises even him as he lies to Veronica on the messages he leaves her telling her he only went up to Westchester to see his mother. Veronica decides, at first, to take advantage of her free time with extra sleep and going out to dinner with friends. At the restaurant Veronica runs into an old boyfriend and she is caught in the dilemma of deciding if she should pursue her desires or go home alone.
This book by Howard Norman is very hard to categorize. The tale is of a young couple totally in love and explores the beginning of their lives together. The wife, Elizabeth, is writing her dissertation on an English author. Her husband, Sam, is trying to finish a novel. They live in a hotel suite and the beginning swings back and forth from their married life to Sam’s visits with his analyst. We know Elizabeth has been murdered, from the first page of the book, by the hotel bellboy.
Sam has written a story about their lives and the murder and it has been opted for a movie. He sells the rights because he is financially desperate. The movie people try time and time again to get his input – but nothing doing. He moves to a small town and makes two good friends (a married couple). He visits the beach every evening and sees his wife there with 11 books. He and his analyst go round and round about whether or not this is real or total hallucination. Finally his talks with his wife lead to her telling him about how the murder happened. This puts Sam around the bend and he ends up institutionalized for a month.
The thing that kept me reading was the humor (also it is a short book) especially between the analyst and Sam and the movie administrator and Sam. I sympathized with Sam’s (I don’t want to say deranged) thoughts, which were quite interesting. Is what we want to see as real, real but only to us? Can we choose between imagination and hallucination?
This is the time of the year when every newspaper and magazine publishes suggestions for summer reading. In today’s newspaper three important booksellers added their opinions as to what will be “hot” this summer. In the category of fiction, these three books were given thumbs-up recommendations. Jojo Moyes’ “One Plus One” is described as a “very smart chick lit” novel, sort of in the tradition of “The Diary of Bridget Jones.” Diana Gabaldon’s “Written In My Own Blood” will be especially welcomed by her fans. This is the 8th book in her Outlander series. Finally, “We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas is about an Irish-American mother trying to create the American dream for her family in Queen, NY.
In the category of non-fiction these three books were recommended. “War of the Whales: A True Story” by Joshua Horwitz. This is the story of an environmental lawyer who challenges the Navy and its use of a secret submarine they have developed which drives whales onto beaches. “Hard Choices” by Hilary Clinton will be published on June 10th. B&N calls it “the most-talked-about non-fiction book of the summer.” Closing out the list was Hampton Sides’ “In the Kingdom of Ice” This is the story of an 1879 polar expedition that was marooned north of Siberia.
Something for everyone, we shall see.
I don’t know if it was because I had just finished reading Natchez Burning but I couldn’t watch much more than half an hour of this. Simply could not take the cruelty.
The four-day event known as “Book Expo” opens today, May 28. More about marketing and networking than literature, the event is expected to draw more than 20,000 people from the publishing world, as well as, 10,000 readers who paid $30 to attend.
More than 750 authors are scheduled to attend. Included in this number are five celebrities who are hawking new memoirs. Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Angelica Huston, Alan Cumming, and Martin Short all have books coming out in the fall. I recently heard an interview with Alan Cumming and based on what he discussed, his book entitled “Not My Father’s Son,” might be interesting. If Amy Poehler’s book is anything like Tina Fey’s “Bossypants, it too might be a winner.
In addition to celebrity sightings, attendees can also hear a panel of best-selling kids authors and discussions of such topics as “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books.”