The Mid-Zone…


I’m currently in the middle of reading two novels and a short story collection; and I wanted to read these works as well to see excellent portraits of family dynamic storytelling–mainly how different writers work with family settings in their novels. Whether subtle or more direct, I’m finding each of these works incredibly fascinating with more of a look into the art of crafting a novel or short story collection based on family culture. So I’m reading John Irving’s A Widow for One Year–and I’ll tell you when you read an Irving novel, you’re hooked. I am. I like how he threads back-and-forth a character’s identity, whether work or hobby related as a reminder or flashback, to get that effect. I think the repetition shows the impact of what inspires/haunts even characters in their decisions and choices that they make in their lives–for example Ruth’s and her parents destiny. Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle is an engaging portrait of a mother and daughter relationship, the twists and turns and discoveries that I’m seeing are intriguing along with how Strout works with setting/environment; and Jesse Shepard’s Jubilee King is a short story collection with very subtle and equally direct meaning of the mundane or every day life with a very raw and intriguing look into California landscapes and people’s relationships that shape it. So far, each work has provided a look at family life in different environments and cultures, and I’m looking forward to seeing where their characters and their lives end up. To be continued…


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