It’s a familar party game. Put your five favorite people, living or dead, on your Dinner List. This book speculates on what would happen if the dinner actually occurred.
Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner at a trendy restaurant. Seated at the table are the five guests she named. Audrey Hepburn, her college philosophy Professor Conrad, her ex-boyfriend Tobias, her estranged father Robert, and her college best friend Jessica are all relaxed and not surprised to be at dinner together. Sabrina is worried that she is either insane or dreaming.
During dinner, flashbacks show the history Sabrina has with these people and why they were added to her dinner list. However, the focus is Sabrina and Tobias’ relationship and why it ended.
I love the magical realism genre (I’m looking at you Haruki Murakami). This book has a magical atmosphere in a more realistic setting. It was innovative of the author to use an old party game as a plot driver. The conclusion is heartfelt and felt organic to the characters. Be aware that the Dinner List is sad in parts. Several of the dinner guests are dead so any revelations will be ultimately bittersweet with the knowledge unusable after the dinner ends. The Dinner List is highly recommended for fans of Me Before You and the Fault in our Stars. 5 stars!
Thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Literary Fiction Tagged with: magical realism, Sep 11 2018
Have you ever thought, “Every plot has already been used so what’s the point in reading (or writing) another”? If so, Smoke City is going to surprise you. No book or movie is anywhere near its plot for imagination and creativity.
Smoke City is a captivating genre-smashing novel. Here are the major genres that are colliding like atoms within this novel:
- Historical fiction (Joan of Arc’s death)
- Horror (ghost story)
- Tragedy (predestination during reincarnation)
- Adventure (adult male bonding during a road trip)
- Literary fiction (famous artist hits the skids)
- Magical realism (see above)
It sounds like it would be a huge mess. But somehow it works!
Half-visible wraiths nicknamed smokes are appearing in Southern California and northern Mexico. Mike Vale, a washed up previously famous artist is desperately trying to get to a funeral in Los Angeles.
Mike picks up Marvin Deitz after Marvin is unceremoniously kicked out of his record store’s lease by his shady, possibly mob-connected, landlord. Marvin is convinced that he will die violently before his 57th birthday in a few days. Why? Throughout his multitude of reincarnations, he never lives to 57. Marvin is convinced he is being punished for executing Joan of Arc in 1431. His therapist thinks it is just a delusion. Convinced he has seen the current incarnation of Joan of Arc on a talk show, Marvin is going to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding forgiveness from a woman he has never met–at least in this lifetime.
On the way to LA, the pair pick up a stowaway, Casper. The plot continues to get curiouser and curiouser from there.
Deciding to read this book takes a leap of faith. There is no comparable book or movie to say it resembles. Smoke City was written by a relatively unknown writer and published by a small press. However, take this reviewer’s advice and read this book. It is truly fantastic and totally different from any other book you will read this year! Kirkus Reviews gushed (for them) that it was “strangely satisfying”. It is worth 5+ stars!
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Fantasy, Horror, Literary Fiction, Paranormal Tagged with: Historical fiction, Jan 23 2018, magical realism
With beautiful artwork and a plot that can be interpreted many ways, this is a perfect book club read.
Streak of Chalk tells the story of two strangers on a mysterious island where the only residents are the proprietor of an inn/general store and her silent adult son. There is also a lighthouse that hasn’t worked in years and a wall where graffiti has been left by previous visitors to the island.
It is difficult to even decide what genre to which this graphic novel belongs. It has elements of romance, thriller, and mystery. There is even one line that may indicate a possibly science-fiction interpretation of the plot.
Streak of Chalk definitely uses magical realism like that in the Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicle. It challenges a reader’s assumptions regarding reality. The artwork is sumptuous and won several awards when this novel was originally released in 1994.
Streak of Chalk is recommended for book clubs and readers looking for a book that will engender lively discussions and thoughts well after the the last page is read. 5 stars! However, there is some nudity and sexual situations that are not appropriate for younger readers.
Thanks to the publisher, NBM Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy. Streak of Chalk was released October 1, 2017.
Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: magical realism