Archive for March 1st, 2011

1st March
written by Steph
I apologize that of late it feels like I write more reviews on others sites than I do here, but you know the drill by now: new month, new BookPage, new reviews by Steph and Tony!

This month I covered Rebecca Hunt's debut novel, Mr. Chartwell. You might not normally expect the words "chronic depression" and "quirky" to go hand-in-hand, but they merrily skip about in this novel. Taking inspiration from the fact that Sir Winston Churchill used to refer to his battle with depression as his "black dog", Hunt takes the metaphor and makes it real in the form of beastly Mr. Chartwell, a hulking black lab. While Winston Churchill obviously plays a role in the book, to me the most intriguing character was entirely of Hunt's own creation, Esther Hammerhans who has troubles of her own. This was a quiet yet spirited novel that I found very thoughtful and probing. If you'd like to read more about it, you can read my full review here.

Tony tackled a much larger book than I this month (ain't that always the case?), and reviewed Jonathan Evison's latest novel, West of Here. The book has already been getting a lot of buzz and BookPage actually chose it as their top pick of the month! If you're into sweeping epics that span multiple periods of time, then this is the book for you. It features a small town in the Pacific Northwest and looks at the building of a damn back in the 1800s and how it is pivotal to sustaining life in that region... only for the damn to become a burden in the modern age. A intelligent look at the way the country and our lives have changed, this is a book you'll not want to miss. You should also not miss Tony's review, which you can check out here!