Tuesday, May 4, 2010


With National Poetry Month done and gone, it's time to get back to the novel -- especially because so many great ones have come out in the last month or so.

Here are a few littering my bedside!:

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (W.W. Norton, $21.65, hardcover) -- Like the ultra-watchable, insanely believable Big Love on HBO, The Lonely Polygamist is a dramatic, always surprising, and consistently hilarious saga about the logistical and spiritual mechanics of polygamist life. Among other things, it's written well and has a lot to say about underground bombs...........um, awesome....

The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Vintage, $12.00) -- Part Bellow, part Camus, part Michael Cunningham, Banville is one of the best and still, very much himself. And I like this older Banville novel, too. It's a dark, fixing book written for those enjoy wry smiles and harbor steely stomachs; 'gruesome' is its middle name and 'calculating' its last. Beautiful, still, as well.

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press, $19.96, hardcover) -- Matterhorn is a big book, figuratively, literally, pretty much any way you hold up to light. And surprisingly, it's also a debut. I'm not real far in it -- just 40 pages or so -- and can readily admit that it's taken a hold of me. (Two words: penile leeches. ). And oh yea, it's about Vietnam and written by a former Marine who's spent 30 years in his attic making it one of the most riveting, comprehensive and peerless books about a subject so many great authors have already explored. How Marlantes found the room, or the acumen, to take over that conversation is beyond me, but thank god for it.



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