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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Would It Have Been Like

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life by Anne Beattie tries to go behind the facade on Pat Nixon and discover the real woman. Beattie research this topic thoroughly but there is not that much about Pat Nixon that is separate from her husband. She always presented this stoic, cold and unemotional face to the world but what was she like really. Beattie examines the life of Pat Nixon, the most private of people, through  imagined scenes and reflections on the art of writing. This is a work of both fact and fiction. In fact, it is more a story of the journey than anything else. Mrs. Nixon remains unknown. I don't think we can say we know her well at the end of the book but we know who she might have been and we care about this hypothetical person.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oedipus Revisted

David Guterson, the author of the tremendously successful Snow Falling on Cedars, has come up with an entirely different premise in this up to date retelling of Oedipus Rex. A young au pair leaves her baby on a doorstep and the son grows up to be 'the king of search'. Ed King is a successful entrepreneur in the technology arena with a liking for older women. It has been described as dark, humorous, imaginative and amazing. People seem to be either loving it or hating it. Those who liked 'Snow...' would not necessarily like this one. Not all the characters are lovable or even likable but it's hard to put down once you are caught up in the story. You want to find out if, in fact, their fate will actually be their fate. He uses twitter like exchanges as a kind of Greek chorus, a very inventive method. I often wonder how author's come up with their ideas, in this case, I really wonder. A very interesting and sometimes controversial read.