Jane Ciabattari http://krwg.org en Harrowing Memories, Intersecting Lives In 'Thirty Girls' http://krwg.org/post/harrowing-memories-intersecting-lives-thirty-girls The central drama in Susan Minot's fourth novel comes from a real-life episode in October 1996, when 139 girls at St. Mary's College in Aboke, Uganda, were abducted by guerillas from the militant Lord's Resistance Army. The school's Italian headmistress followed the rebels into the bush and retrieved all but 30 of the girls — hence the title.<p>Minot is best known for exquisite minimalist explorations of love, desire, and complicated family ties among upper-crust Easterners. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 00:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 59842 at http://krwg.org Harrowing Memories, Intersecting Lives In 'Thirty Girls' Debut Novel Offers Surprisingly Dark 'Vision' Of Shaker Life http://krwg.org/post/debut-novel-offers-surprisingly-dark-vision-shaker-life In August 1837, a group of girls aged ten through fourteen in a one-room Shaker schoolhouse received "signs from the world beyond." One by one they began singing, jerking, chanting, and reciting Latin. This miraculous phenomenon went on for hours. Elder Sister Agnes, the schoolteacher, witnessed it all. Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:02:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 57741 at http://krwg.org Debut Novel Offers Surprisingly Dark 'Vision' Of Shaker Life Opening The Literary Liquor Cabinet In 'Echo Spring' http://krwg.org/post/opening-literary-liquor-cabinet-echo-spring Remember Brick's frequent trips to "Echo Spring" in <em>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</em>? Echo Spring, Olivia Laing reminds us in her illuminating new book, is a nickname for the liquor cabinet, drawn from the brand of bourbon it contains. Tue, 31 Dec 2013 12:08:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 56890 at http://krwg.org Opening The Literary Liquor Cabinet In 'Echo Spring' Amy Tan's Latest: Mothers, Daughters And The Oldest Profession http://krwg.org/post/amy-tans-latest-mothers-daughters-and-oldest-profession Family secrets, life-changing betrayals and the paradox of wondering about the old country while belonging to the new are at the heart of Amy Tan's work. She enthralled readers of her phenomenally successful first novel, <em>The Joy Luck Club</em> (1989), with the interlocking stories of four Chinese-born mothers and their four California-born daughters. Sat, 09 Nov 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 53551 at http://krwg.org Amy Tan's Latest: Mothers, Daughters And The Oldest Profession Raymond Carver And His Editor Re-Imagined In 'Scissors' http://krwg.org/post/raymond-carver-and-his-editor-re-imagined-scissors The legendary minimalist short story writer Raymond Carver distilled the last decade of his life in his poem "Gravy." "Gravy, these past ten years," he writes. "Alive, sober, working, loving, and being loved by a good woman."<p>Carver was dying of cancer by the time he wrote the poem (he died in 1988 at age 50), but he didn't dwell on that. "I've had ten years longer than I or anyone expected," he writes. "Pure Gravy. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 47943 at http://krwg.org Raymond Carver And His Editor Re-Imagined In 'Scissors' 'The Bone Season': Could This Be The Next Harry Potter? Maybe! http://krwg.org/post/bone-season-could-be-next-harry-potter-maybe Samantha Shannon is being touted as the new J. K. Rowling. She's 21, a fresh graduate of Oxford, where she was a student when she wrote <em>The Bone Season</em>, the first in a projected seven-novel urban fantasy series. She's got a film deal with the new London studio set up by Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings fame, and she's been courting booksellers, book reviewers, and fantasy fans for more than a year.<p>It's tricky when a book arrives with such preliminary brouhaha. I've learned to scrub my mind of hype and leave it to the text. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 47744 at http://krwg.org 'The Bone Season': Could This Be The Next Harry Potter? Maybe! 'Woman Upstairs': Friendly On The Outside, Furious On The Inside http://krwg.org/post/woman-upstairs-friendly-outside-furious-inside Claire Messud's cosmopolitan sensibilities infuse her fiction with a refreshing cultural fluidity. Her first novel, <em>When the World Was Steady</em> (1995), followed two midlife sisters in search of new beginnings, one in Bali and the other on the Isle of Skye. In her second novel, <em>The Last Life</em> (1999), a teenager reacting to a family crisis pondered her father's origins in Algeria and southern France, and her mother's New England roots. Thu, 25 Apr 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 39810 at http://krwg.org 'Woman Upstairs': Friendly On The Outside, Furious On The Inside From Cincinnati To North Korea, We All Wake Up 'Lonely' http://krwg.org/post/cincinnati-north-korea-we-all-wake-lonely When Fiona Maazel published her first novel, <em>Last Last Chance</em>, in 2008, her frenetic imagination and sharply etched characters earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 authors list. Her 29-year-old narrator, Lucy, was heading into her seventh stretch in rehab; Maazel filtered her addiction, grief, self-involvement and fear through a scrim of dark humor.<p>There's a comic overlay to her second, even more frenzied and inventive novel, <em>Woke Up Lonely</em>. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 38751 at http://krwg.org From Cincinnati To North Korea, We All Wake Up 'Lonely' Tender Portraits Of Worn-Down Women In 'This Close' http://krwg.org/post/tender-portraits-worn-down-women-close Jessica Francis Kane drew considerable attention for her artful historic novel, <em>The Report</em>, which explored the repercussions of a tragic incident in March 1943, when 173 people died while rushing into the Bethnal Green tube station for shelter during an air raid. Her portraits of wartime Londoners were psychologically acute and rich in evocative detail. She applies that same skill to her second collection, <em>This Close</em>, populated by 21st century Americans adrift in an increasingly complicated world. Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 36962 at http://krwg.org Tender Portraits Of Worn-Down Women In 'This Close' Short Stories To Savor On A Winter Weekend http://krwg.org/post/short-stories-savor-winter-weekend Hortense Calisher, a virtuoso of the form, once called the short story "an apocalypse in a teacup." It's a definition that suits the remarkable stories published this year by three literary superstars, and two dazzling newcomers with voices so distinctive we're likely to be hearing from them again. Mon, 26 Nov 2012 12:02:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 30320 at http://krwg.org Short Stories To Savor On A Winter Weekend A Lyrical Portrait Of Life And Death In The Orchard http://krwg.org/post/lyrical-portrait-life-and-death-orchard Amanda Coplin grew up in the apple-growing Wenatchee Valley, on the sunny side of Washington state's Cascade range, surrounded by her grandfather's orchards. Her glorious first novel, inspired by family history, takes you back to the days when you could buy what are now considered heirloom apples — Arkansas Blacks and Rhode Island Greenings — from the man who grew them, from bushel baskets lugged into town by mule-drawn wagon. Thu, 23 Aug 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 24773 at http://krwg.org A Lyrical Portrait Of Life And Death In The Orchard A Broken Family Navigates 'The World Without You' http://krwg.org/post/broken-family-navigates-world-without-you Joshua Henkin opens his third novel with a dramatic setup. Leo Frankel has been killed while reporting from Iraq for <em>Newsday. </em>He was<em> </em>kidnapped and videotaped in a way reminiscent of how American journalist Daniel Pearl, the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> reporter, was killed in Pakistan in 2002. Over the past decade, dozens of newspeople have been killed each year in war zones, making this a timely subject for fiction. But Henkin places Leo's dramatic death offstage, telling it in sketchy snippets. Wed, 27 Jun 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Jane Ciabattari 21024 at http://krwg.org A Broken Family Navigates 'The World Without You'