Just what Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly (September 3, Grove Press) The interesting thing about Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is that Lisa Kallisto’s lapse in attention doesn’t bring about tragedy for her own child, but instead for one of her friend’s children. Daly writes in an easy and straightforward manner, and throws in quite a few surprises as Lisa’s emotional state runs the gamut between guilt, shame and the desire to escape the spotlight and responsibility. I really liked the dynamics of the friendship Daly showed in the relationship between Lisa and Kate – the friction that can arise when women of different socioeconomic backgrounds attempt a friendship, Lisa’s relationship with her husband, and her dissatisfaction with their lives. I also enjoyed the looks into the investigating detective’s life. The novel is a portrait of life in this small town. My only nagging issue is the lack of tension I felt throughout most of the book, but I can’t quite out my finger on why that was. Still, and enjoyable mystery.
Audrey in Rome by Luca Dotti, Ludovica Damiani and Sciascia Gambaccini (April 23, Harper Design) Audrey in Rome was my first time flipping through a book of Audrey Hepburn pictures. Her son, Luca Dotti, curated the photographs – with the purpose of presenting some that were little seen to the public – but most of the photos seemed to be publicity shots, and Audrey attending dinners and events. Very few were private family photos. I didn’t know a lot about Audrey Hepburn, so I enjoyed the anecdotes, and info surrounding her life and movies. While this is nice and easy to flip through, I doubt that die-hard Audrey fans will find much here that will be new for them.
Goat Mountain by David Vann (September 10, Harper) Goat Mountain is the first David Vann novel I’ve read, and it was quite an experience. The novel tells the story of a family of men who go out on a hunting trip, discover a poacher, and become embroiled in deep conflict and tragedy when the eleven year old kills the man. Vann’s novel is a snapshot of the moment. The reader knows that the boy lives to be much older, but doesn’t get to see the life that he is leading – though he is reflective of his past and seems to be attempting to process what he learned from the experience, while ruminating on the nature of mankind. This novel is not for the fain of heart. Vann is graphic in his descriptions of death and killing, and the men’s interactions with each other in the aftermath are brutal. Goat Mountain explores man’s true nature as a beast of the planet, and the struggle to tame that nature through society and religion. I’m not sure of my final takeaway, but he presents a host of thought provoking issues to ponder.