Monday, July 30, 2007

The Divide

If you tend to like the same books I give favorable reviews to, you may want to avoid reading Nicholas Evans' The Divide. Originally published in 2005, my paperback copy has 499 pages. The blurb on the cover promised a whole lot more than Evans' delivered. It was also a bit too much of a woman's novel for my tastes. Pineapple, pineapple, pineapple.
From Amazon:
This fourth novel lacks the power and intensity of Evans's debut, The Horse Whisperer (1995), and it's not nearly as carefully written. A pretty, upper-middle-class girl is discovered frozen in Montana ice and is soon identified as Abbie Cooper, wanted for murder by the FBI. After a promising beginning that introduces a colorful cast of Montana locals, Evans breaks off and flashes back to Abbie's upbringing in suburban New York, and centers the book on Abbie's now-divorced parents, Ben and Sarah. Evans follows the Coopers' high-end careers and estrangement from their domestic lives in meticulous, mind-numbing detail; their separation propels the already idealistic Abbie into the arms of Rolf, a shadowy eco-terrorist. As Abbie's Patty Hearst-like adventures in the eco-underworld slowly unfold, Ben takes up with Sante Fe-based artist Eve, and Sarah is left alone with son Josh, who emerges late in the novel as an improbable principal. Compelling minor characters like Sheriff Charlie Riggs and besieged ranchers Ray and Martha Hawkins are largely wasted. All winds down to a sadder, wiser, relatively reconciled ending that conforms to the norms of family drama, and of romance. The most vivid thing in the book is the wrangling early on over Abbie's remains.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Wall

The Wall by Jeff Long was great, however reading during a time when you are moving half way across the country perhaps didn't give The Wall the full attention it deserved. I left off reading for almost a week when a survivor was found on El Cap and the tension was palpable. I'm highly recommending it because although I wanted to finish it, I simply wasn't physically able to right away and because the ending really surprised me. The Wall was originally published in 2006 and my paperback copy was 384 pages long.

From Amazon:
A widowed geologist makes one final, perilous attempt to scale Yosemite's El Cap and winds up running for his life in Long's atmospheric, aggressive thriller (after The Reckoning). Hugh Glass and his climbing buddy Lewis Cole revisit the mountain where 35 years earlier, they shared glory on the 3,600-foot-high monolith and met the women they would marry. Now, years later, Hugh's wife has vanished and Lewis's is divorcing him. Ascending El Cap, Hugh and Lewis yearn for their wives and are humbled by nature's rapture. Their last-ditch adventure is marred by the discovery of a body—one of three fallen climbers—and an encounter with Joshua, a malevolent old "caveman" who steals the corpse. Long casts the dramatic natural setting as a major player in the story and imparts fascinating facts about the art of rock-climbing. Joshua's reappearance and a forest fire complicate the climbers' trek, before a search and rescue guide who seeks his missing fiancĂ©e joins them. Lewis abandons the expedition, but increasingly paranoid Hugh continues on, joining the shifty guide to find the other lost climbers just as a violent storm heads their way. The surprise ending is a true shocker in this hurtling, gripping read.

Friday, July 6, 2007

moving time

I'll be gone for a couple weeks now as we begin our move.