Review: The Dreamers

★★★★☆34409176

Let me just say it outright: I loved this book. I was pining for weeks before it was gifted to me for Valentine’s Day and I was thrilled to finally begin. I haven’t read Karen Thompson Walker’s first book, The Age of Miracles but it has jumped far up my TBR after this.

In The Dreamers Walker transports you to the cozy town of Santa Lora, California where a mysterious illness descends has descended upon the local college. Told for the perspectives of a several of residents of Santa Lora, The Dreamers is an intimate portrait of a town in crisis.

This is not a fast-paced thriller, but something to bask in. There is a certain magic to the world Walker creates and the delicate way the lives of each character overlaps and intertwines. Even though this book succeeds in giving a full overview of Santa Lora in the midst of an epidemic, I felt like I had enough time to connect with each character and I cared deeply for all of them. No point of view felt unnecessary of wedged in, every life contributed to the story effortlessly. This book is simply mesmerizing. Continue reading “Review: The Dreamers”

Advance Review: The Parade

★★★☆☆ 40819224

I read The Circle when it was first published several years ago. Dave Eggers had written a classic tale of dark secrets behind a glittering facade that devastates when it begins to fall apart. It was a quick, satisfying read and with this fond memory in mind, I jumped at a chance to read his upcoming book, The Parade.

The premise is simple enough: a pair of western contractors have been sent to an unnamed country that has been ravaged by years of civil war. In this time of peace, they have been contracted to pave a road bridging the northern and southern regions of this country. The story is narrated by Four, the older and more experienced of the two men. Four intends to carry out this job has he has every assignment before, but Nine throws a wrench in that. As Four keeps his head down and his gaze fixed on the finish line, Nine soaks up the landscape and the hospitality of locals.

The Parade chugs along at a steady pace. I wouldn’t characterize this as particularly suspenseful, but the book doesn’t drag on. Eggers leads you on with the promise of further intrigue and maybe, just maybe figuring out what this book is actually about. It feels almost allegorical with the way he layers on the vagueness: an unnamed company sending two men who go only by pseudonyms to an unnamed country after a conflict between nameless factions. It felt at times as if I knew the machine they were using to pave the road better than the characters before me. I enjoyed how both Four and Nine’s relationship evolved over time, but the ending ultimately fell flat. The final twist was tragically predictable and didn’t land with much more than a thud. For better or for worse, I’ve never read anything quite like The Parade before. Continue reading “Advance Review: The Parade”

Review: The Incendiaries

★★★★☆ The Incendiaries

The Incendiaries is R.O. Kwon’s remarkable debut. With her incredible prose she tells the story of Will and Phoebe, their love and their demise. As Will wrestles with his losing his faith, Phoebe descends further into an extremist cult, trying to absolve herself of the guilt she lives with following her mother’s death.

I can already feel that this book will be in my thoughts for a long time.

It is hard to feel close to the characters in this book: Will, our narrator and the enigmatic Phoebe, defying understanding from the moment she enters Will’s life until the moment she leaves it. I was captivated by their stories and the incredible way Kwon conveys their journeys. Read this book for Kwon’s elegant writing, for the haunting story she weaves, and for the characters that you won’t be able to forget. Continue reading “Review: The Incendiaries”