© 2015 by Five Directions Press. Five Directions Press logo © Colleen Kelley.

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Books We Loved, July 2016

July 14, 2016

 

 

 

Dot Hutchison, The Butterfly Garden (Thomas & Mercer, 2016) 

Not for the faint of heart, The Butterfly Garden is creepy crime fiction reminiscent of a Criminal Minds episode. The story, told both from the present from the point of view of FBI agents and in flashbacks from the main character, a kidnapped young woman, takes the reader along as the characters unravel the mystery surrounding a serial kidnapper, the secret garden he's built and the women he calls his Butterflies.—CJH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christiane Ritter, Woman in the Polar Night (repr. University of Alaska Press, 2010)

A first-person account of a year in the frozen north, continuously in print since 1938 and still a compelling read. A well-to-do Austrian Hausfrau and artist leaves her child and her ordered, comfortable life to join her husband and a Norwegian hunter in a tiny cabin on an island in the Arctic Sea. There she finds beauty in the ethereal light of the polar sky, the furious storms, the “mighty jagged arches and towers of ice,” and the wild and mighty animals: polar bears and seals, reindeer and arctic foxes.—DS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricia Sullivan, Occupy Me (Gollancz, 2016)

A lofty mixture of physics and poetry, this novel is about an angel from another dimension working for The Resistance, which tries to make life better in small ways. But the members of the Resistance aren’t who they seem to be and Pearl, the angel, is an enigma in her own right—a huge, compassionate entity who doesn’t know her own origin. The more you read about the main characters, a doctor who is possessed by a murderous entity that may actually be trying to save the world and an angel who was created out of “extinct animals and nano-libraries,” the less you actually know them. As the author says at one point, “I didn’t recognize myself. Never again the same. In my brain a thicket of dendrites were standing on end in dark and terrible welcome.” Read this book, and your dendrites will hop to attention as well.—GM

 

 

 

 

Beatriz Williams, A Certain Age (William Morris, 2016)

A wealthy 1920s socialite who has an “understanding” with her philandering husband falls in love with a man twenty years younger than she is. Life looks good until her brother enlists her young lover to issue a marriage proposal on his behalf, creating a love pentangle that ends in a courtroom and scandal. Beatriz Williams’s ability to draw us into her story by rendering every one of these not always admirable characters sympathetic and believable makes this novel a must-read.—CPL

 

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