You're used to reading GBC on a daily basis. Today we are pleased to announce we're adding Sundays to the mix.
Welcome to the first ever Sunday Book Review edition of GBC. We have decided to keep this blog running on weekends and look forward to sharing reviews of good reads. We hope you will chime in with your own reactions to these books in the 'comments' section below.
Book reviews from the authors you've come to know and trust.
Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner, Kindle edition: (reviewed by Melissa Clark)
In real life, Lerner, a poet, won a Fulbright Scholar in 2005 and moved to Madrid for research. This novel is a fictionalized account of his experiences. I absolutely love when poets write prose. The language, word play, thought process is electrifying.
Adam Gordon, a modern day Holden Caulfield, is in Madrid on an unspecified fellowship to do research for a book of poems. What Lerner captures is the surreal feeling of the American abroad - the language barrier, all the challenges and excitement of travel in general.
The protagonist is not necessarily sympathetic. He's a pill-popper with an anxiety disorder, suffers from intense insecurity, falls in love too easily and wants to be seen as something he's not. But Adam is also vulnerable, funny and edgy.
This is not a traditional book. The plot is thin but the themes resonate. The novel tackles so many issues: art, travel, relationships, mental illness, politics, Bush, Franco, terrorism, etc. "ETC." is actually a concept that is tackled as well. Sound quirky? It is. Sound intriguing? It is that, too.
The book is so prescient, so funny, so sad and so alive. A thrilling endeavor as a reader, and an inspiration for any writer.
Melissa Clark is the author of "Swimming Upstream, Slowly" and "Imperfect", and is currently finishing her third novel, "Bear Witness". Please follow her on her blog, "Connections Clark" for book recs and more.