Random House

Twelves Ways Into My Heart

1. Hannah Tinti is a literary lyricist I can’t get enough of.

2. Not many authors can turn prose into poetry but Tinti pulls IMG_2760it off like there’s nothing to it.

3. Samuel Hawley is one of the truest characters I’ve read.

4. Hawley’s “hits” and jobs don’t feel like they’re coming from a trained professional, but from a guy relying on his common sense, and becomes a professional because of it.

5. Lily is the perfect love story for Hawley.

6. Lily’s touch is all over Hawley and Loo’s lives and Tinti pulled it off without feeling overbearing or cliché.

7. Loo goes on a transformative journey as she learns of her father’s past, how she fit in it, and what their future relationship will look like.

8. Loo’s own love story is still open to possibilities.

9. Marshall is the love story that Loo needed.

10. Marshall goes on his own transformative journey as his life intertwines with Loo’s.

11. Tinti is masterful at making every character we encounter essential to the story.

12. This story will live in my heart for a long time, and I know it will live in yours as well.

 

 

 

By: Emily Coleman

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Theorem of Numbers

Everything about Ethan Canin’s writing is beautiful and meaningful. Each sentence is carefully structured to evoke the exact feelings and response Canin wants to inflict on his readers. A Doubters Almanac is split into two sections. The first section we follow Milo IMG_0254Andret, a genius mathematician, as he grows up and becomes a Professor at Princeton. He drinks and womanizes his way to us unceremonious termination from Princeton. Then Canin switches to the point of view from Hans, Milo’s son. Hans recounts his childhood, growing up with a washed up mathematician for a father. Both of Milo’s children are as mathematically inclines as Milo but Hans is expected to carry on the Andret name.

Canin uses two points of view masterfully for both sections. While we watch Milo’s comings and goings through life, Canin uses more of an objective 3rd point of view. The reader watches Milo but doesn’t get inside his head and hear his feelings. With Hans’ section, Canin moves to a more omniscient point of view and the reader gets to know Hans intimately. We know his fears and worries and joys. It’s a brilliant technique to help us understand these two dynamic characters. My only complaint was Hans’ section time jumped quite a bit. While Mio’s section stayed linear, Hans would move from present to past to further past, back to present. It wasn’t necessarily difficult to follow but sometimes it took me a page or two to figure out what time period we were in.

Even as I was reading A Doubters Almanac, I was recommending it to everyone I talked to. Ethan Canin has a talent and writing craft I haven’t read in a while. I enjoyed his storytelling voice and the deep and raw character analysis Canin presents. I’ll be seeking out his other works, and waiting for his future novels.

 

 

By Emily Coleman

Endless Journeys

A Holocaust story is an ambitious endeavor for a debut author. Gavriel Savit wrote a historical fiction young adult novel centering around Poland as the Nazis invaded. What I really liked about the book is it wasn’t a story about the war but a story about a young girl on the run as the war is happening around her. Anna’s father leaves for a meeting at the University he teaches at and never comes home. The family friend watching Anna for the day doesn’t want to take the responsibility of harboring a child that might bring unwanted attention from the Nazis and leaves Anna on the street. Not having a mother anymore and no one willing to care for her, Anna is now alone in the world.IMG_0111
A tall, thin man sees Anna sitting in the street and questions what she is doing there by asking her in several different languages. Anna’s father was a linguistics professor and she has grown up with various languages spoken freely. Anna immediately feels a connection with the strange man because of his knowledge of languages and his knowledge of one language she doesn’t know, the song of a swallow bird. This mysterious man allows Anna to follow him out of Krakow and into the surrounding forest where Anna will grow up into a young woman. Anna and the reader never learn the man’s name so because of his connection with swallows, Anna names him Swallow Man while calling him Daddy when strangers are around. The Swallow Man teaches Anna how to survive on the run. He also teaches her the language of Road, a way to lie to the strangers you encounter while being sincere about it.
Gavriel Savit weaves a fairy tale-esk story with beautiful images of loneliness and wanting. Anna and the Swallow Man learn little about each other in their time together but they are caretakers of the other throughout their journey. The ending was left very open ended. We hope Anna will be taken care of but it’s hard to say what will become of her Swallow Man.