THE JAPANESE LOVER/ ISABEL ALLENDE/ COMPLEX SOCIAL THEMES

Isabel Allende captures a complex variety of societal topics in her new novel The Japanese Lover. Allende weaves desperate themes in a story line encompassing aging, a burning love affair which transcends racial lines, the Japanese internment during WWII, human trafficking, child pornography and homosexuality.

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Allende hardly misses a social issue while telling a story surrounding the life of a well to do San Francisco woman from a prominent Jewish family who beginning in her childhood falls in love with a Japanese boy, the son of the gardener at their seaside estate. The story continues over hills and valleys Till death do us part.

It is always pleasurable to read Allende’s writing. Her novels touch reality  and the characters provoke thought and deliver insight but absent a lecture.  I also commend to you Allende’s Island Beneath The Sea and Daughter of Fortune. Search here at gordonsgoodreads for further details on these novels.

DESTINY and POWER/ GEORGE H.W. BUSH/ MASTERFULLY MEACHAM

With high advance praise from historians David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Michael  Beschloss one need not say much more in recommending this masterful work by  Jon Meacham.

imgres-2 Destiny and Power,The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush captures the man brilliantly and fairly and secures him a permanent place in American Presidential history.  George Herbert Walker Bush may indeed be  A last of his kind, and Meacham relates clearly and concisely  the depth of that appellation.  More than a biography, Meacham details a period in American and world history through the portal of the Bush Oval Office. The research is impeccable and the access provided Meacham by a very private president and his family is remarkable.

A must read, now even more meaningful with another Bush running for President.

I also recommend  Meacham’s Franklin and Winston an Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. Search gordonsgoodreads for details.

Snow Falling On Cedars/A Timely Classic from 1994

The prose is magnificent and the story ironically timely in these divisive days of 2015.  Twenty-one-years after its original publication in 1994 the story line is as prescient as then. Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson is an award-winning novel, the themes of which resonate today.

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The writing captivates the reader from the very first pages. Outside the wind blew steadily from the north, driving snow against the courthouse. By noon three inches had settled on the town, a snow so ethereal it could hardly be said to have settled at all, instead it swirled like some icy fog.

As the story unfolds, a young Japanese man is accused of murder surrounded by the prejudice against all Japanese following the Second World War. A love affair between a young newspaperman and a Japanese woman, a trial, a community split apart and a  verdict.

Prescient?  Look into my face, interrupted Hatsue. Look at my eyes Ishmael. My face is the face of the people who did it–don’t you see what I mean? My face, it’s how the Japanese look. My family is in bad trouble now. Do you see what I mean?

No further spoiling of the story. It would be a travesty for me to do so. You will thank me for telling  you of my belated discovery of  Snow Falling On Cedars.  The novel was made into a movie directed by John Hicks and released in 1995.

 

 

Honor Among Thieves/ Step Back In Time/ Revisit Jeffrey Archer

Saddam seeks revenge after the first Gulf War.  He plots to steal the original Declaration  of Independence, bring it to Baghdad and burn it for the world to see on the Fourth of  July.  Jeffrey Archer’s Hon0r Among Thieves  weaves the story which is filled with familiar historical characters.

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Archer expands the plot in a wonderful read that turns the pages through a labyrinth like a maze in a cornfield.  Published in 1993, this is one of Archer’s novels that I missed. It cried out to me from the library shelf.  Archer’sKane and Able should also beckon you if you have not read this other great work of fiction.  It is always worthwhile to double-check what you may have missed from authors you have enjoyed.

GRISHAM’S THE RACKETEER TURNS THE TABLES

I had overlooked John Grisham’s The Racketeer until I spotted it at the library fiction shelf. “Missed that one,” I said to myself.  Glad I found it.

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Released in 2013, The Racketeer easily stands the test of Grisham excellence. He spins a complex story in his classic page turning fashion. A young lawyer, wrongfully imprisoned by the Feds, carefully plots and executes his revenge upon the system.  The tale travels through Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Jamaica  and Antigua. Of course there is a beautiful woman at the center of the twisting plot along with an intriguing cast of characters.

Grisham’s  latest book is Gray Mountain, released last October, it followed Sycamore Row.  I have placed it on my summer reading list.  Due from Grisham on October 20 of this year is his latest book, Rogue Lawyer. Search gordonsgoodreads for other Grisham offerings.

 

 

FULL FORCE AND EFFECT—-JACK RYAN RETURNS

President Jack Ryan is back  in Mark Greaney’s  new novel Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect.  Greaney hits his stride in his second book in the Clancy legacy following Tom Clancy’s death in October, 2013. His first was Tom Clancy Support and Defend. ( Search  here at Gordon’s Good Reads.)

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Tom Clancy fans, myself included, will not be disappointed as familiar characters return in the page turning action to which readers have become accustomed in Greaney’s writing.  Few, if any, wasted paragraphs.

The timely plot is of course North Korea. The new Supreme Leader Choi-Ji-hoon is more malevolent and even less stable than his deceased father. Driven to build a nuclear ICBM delivery system, Choi-Ji-hoon drives his subservient ghouls into a fiendish plot to source the   cash to fund the project, through the discovery of valuable heavy metals in the mountains of the north.

Profiteers join with America’s natural enemies in an unholy alliance with the North Koreans to carry out the complicated task of mining, marketing and converting into cash this new exploitable resource.

Enter ” The Campus” and  POTUS in an alliance to stop the madness. Mark Greaney’s research and storytelling  approach cable news reality!  Tom Clancy fans will enjoy every page, satisfied that there will be still more of this great series.

Enjoy!

 

MORE MADNESS OF HENRY VIII

In her new book, The Kings Curse, Philippa Gregory adds multiple chapters to the madness of the Tudor Court of King Henry VIII.  If you enjoyed her best-selling novel The Other Boleyn  Girl, you will be very much at home with The Kings Curse. The story comes through the voice of a new narrator, Margaret Pole of the Yorks, part of the Plantagenets, and considered a rival to the Tudor Throne.

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All of the great characters of the period are interwoven throughout the book.  The demise of Katherine of Aragon, the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn, Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey and of course Henry VIII himself. Throughout the novel the crafty and devious Margaret Pole masks her disdain for the Tudors in an effort of save the lives of her sons and Henry and Katherine’s only living child,  Mary, the legitimate heir.  It is indeed the King’s curse, that he has no  legitimate son to continue the Tudor Dynasty.

Gregory’s research and attention to detail is impeccable and her literary style is fast paced. There is never a long wait at the starting line.

Other novels of this era you may enjoy are Katherine by Anya Seton and the entire C.J. Sansom series set during this period.  You can search these titles and The Other Boleyn Girl here at gordonsgoodreads.com