Inspirational Reads: ‘There There’ By Tommy Orange, ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ By Delia Owens and ‘Women in Sunlight’ By Frances Mayes

 

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‘There There’ By Tommy Orange
Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.
Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking, There There is a relentlessly paced multi-generational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/563403/there-there-by-tommy-orange/9780771073014
Review:
You will be hard pressed to find any book out there right now that is so beautifully curated, respectful to American Native Indian story telling and written with such an authentic voice you will be moved to tears. ‘There There’ By Tommy Orange has all the makings of a ground breaking and award winning novel. Told through a variety of voices that intersect in a moment of sheer terror – each character tells us their own unique vision, educates us on Native Indian cultures, and exposes crumbs of their history which is riddled with an emotional texture that leaves you salivating to learn more. The lead up is to a pow wow which each character has a deafening connection to – but before we get to the pow wow we are exposed to a landscape that far is free from rocks and debris of time past and is instead is laden with memories and images that reminds us that we will never know the full story. As the reader we must stretch ourselves further and read more about this culture so we in turn can support them in making things right be it in Canada or abroad.

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‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ By Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/567281/where-the-crawdads-sing-by-delia-owens/9780735219090/
Review:
You may feel that you have read this story before but in fact you haven’t. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ By Delia Owens is a poetic piece of storytelling that can immediately be brought to screen with its rich ode to the south and all its romanticisms. We are introduced to Kya who we can all relate to at least at one time in our lives – feeling like the outcast, perhaps feeling like we have been left to our own devices and the feeling like we are losing a constant battle. Owens does a wonderful job creating a space for the reader to view Kya in her darkest hours and what she accomplishes to overcome those short comings with the help of characterization which is as diverse as her style of writing. Buried within the course of the plot is a mystery that perhaps you may not see coming within the suffering of our heroine. The mystery is the icing on the cake in bringing the story together and reminding us that deep within our lens of change there is always fast one that we least expect to be had.

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‘Women in Sunlight’ By Frances Mayes
By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.
She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?
Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/546989/women-in-sunlight-by-frances-mayes/9780451497666/
Review:
If you are a fan of ‘Under a Tuscan Sun’, ‘Women in Sunlight’ By Frances Mayes should be right up your alley. Mayes lens towards her style of writing reads like a painting. She hardly colours within the lines nor does she colour by numbers – she instead creates a web for her characters to find their way out of while also exposing a little about themselves and how they came to be that we can relate to as the reader. We meet Kit again and see her in a new time in her life full of new characters and growth. She is still very likeable and begins to forage a new way of living through the arrival of her guests. As usual, Mayes throws us into a beautiful Italian way of life and living. If you haven’t been anywhere this summer and want to get absorbed into a book that will surely satiate your travel bug with a glass of wine and cheese plate – grab this book!

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