Complicated relationships in novels…


I have read some interesting books lately! A theme I am detecting in many of them are complicated human relationships of all kinds. As usual, I have included my recent reads below along with a few notes.

A Small Hotel-by Robert Olen Butler-This book takes place in a single day but the two characters (a couple on the day of their divorce) both recollect earlier times in their lives and relationships. Both characters are not easy to like but can be understood. This book is a bit depressing, I felt, but that is what I usually like so it was okay. Taking place in New Orleans is what made me pick it up in the first place. I love that city in a way I love few. I want to rush back as soon as possible. But, for now, I will have to listen to Tab Benoit’s Cajun Man Gets the Blues. This song, for some reason, resonates with me and screams Louisiana!

You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon-I have always been a bit weary of the armed forces but have read at least two books that drew me in. This one is one of them and is about military spouses in Fort Hood, Texas. I found this book very interesting and burned through it in two days. The stories are about relationships but also gave a glimpse into the lives of these individuals on the base-a topic I never spent much time thinking about. A good read. Everyone should be able to relate to at least one of the stories.YouKnowWhentheMenAreGone1.JPG

The Ghost Quartet-edited by Marvin Kaye-This is a collection of four tales of horror!! My favourite was the Haunted Single Malt. I enjoy a good ghost story once in a while and have read many books about haunted houses etc. This collection was an easy ready and the stories had variety. None of them were particularly scary, however. Ah well.

A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi-This book is about an Indian couple with a very sick son. The main focus is on the wife who had divorced her first husband and not seen him for years. One day, the ex appears in her town (with his wife and family) and the author explores their interactions. The first marriage ended after the Bhopal gas tragedy and this plays a large part in the characters’ lives. I asked my mother if this was an actual event as I had never heard of the tragedy and she said she remembered it clearly and that many people had  died as a result. Here is the wiki link:

Towards another summer by Janet Frame-This book was not my favourite but still was interesting. I found the main character a bit annoying. Most of the book focuses on one weekend in which the socially incompetent character visits a family. Some parts were amusing and reminded me of some people I know.

The Painter of Birds by Lidia Jorge-I enjoyed this book that focuses on a family in Portugal. The main character is the daughter of the black sheep of the family. Families are complicated and this is well illustrated in this novel. I felt a bit emotional during one particularly messy chapter of this novel. I could relate (or at least expect to in the future) which is scary. That is a whole other post which I am not willing to write quite yet.

Somebody Pick up my Pieces by J.D. Mason-Another book about a complicated family. This time it was 3 young women and their mother in the United States-as well as the relationships these women have with men. Parents sure can do a number on their kids! Also, relationships are very complicated. Just refer back to my thin line between love and hate post!


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