Monday, February 2, 2009

Two upcoming events at the Odyssey Bookshop

Hi, everyone,

Textbook rush is in full-swing, but I wanted to take a couple of moments to let you know about two upcoming events here at the Odyssey Bookshop in the next couple of weeks.

The first event will take place next Tuesday, February 10th at 7 p.m. when novelist and short-story writer Lewis Robinson will read from his new novel, Water Dogs, which we've chosen as the store's "Breakout Fiction" selection for the month of February. We'll be having a wine and cheese reception for Mr. Robinson after the reading.

Having grown up in Maine, this novel appealed to me immediately, and Robinson's portrayals of the dreary winter landscape and the lives of full-year coastal residents (once the summer folk go home) are spot on.

The novel takes place during mud-season (the horrible month of March in New England when temperatures can range from 0-50 degrees in the course of an afternoon) during a particularly bad snow storm. It follows two brothers, Bennie and Littlefield, who join their best friend in a paintball match against a rival team of "sea urchiners." When the field closes, the match is tied, and the two teams decide to sneak back to the field to finish the game - despite the weather forecast. Unfortunately, a member of the rival party disappears in the snow and Littlefield is suspected of foul play.

Alongside Robinson's terrific descriptions of Maine life, the underlying narrative tension, or the who-dun-it?, keeps you flipping pages until the very end. If you're interested in the New York Times book review, click here.

The next event I'd like to mention will take place on February 18th, also at 7 p.m. with Jayne Anne Phillips. Her latest novel, Lark and Termite, was just released this January and received a glowing from the Times a couple of weeks ago. The Odyssey has selected it as it's Signed First Edition Club pick for the month of February. It's been almost 9 years since her last novel, Motherkind was published and fans have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on this latest book. In my opinion, they won't be disappointed.

Told in alternating points of view, the novel follows the lives of four individuals: first, a solider fighting in the Korean War in the 1950s, caught in a deadly cross-fire and comtemplating the birth of his first child; second, two children, Lark (a teenage girl on the verge of adulthood) and Termite (Lark's younger brother, who is unable to walk to speak), and finally, the children's Aunt Nonnie, forced to raise Lark and Termite after their mother disappears. As the story propels forward, we see how each of these is interlinked with the other, and the answers are easy for anyone involved.

Phillips is extraordinary at getting inside the heads of each of these characters and making them come to life, but also, the style with which she writes changes with each characters point of view (the solider's thoughts, due to the stress he's under, come to us more as stream-of-consciousness while Lark's point of view is more straight-forward). However, the novel never loses it's natural flow, and I think that's a particularly rare gift for a writer to have.

I hope that one or both of these books has peaked your interest and that we'll see you in-store for the events in the up-coming weeks.

Emily R.M.

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