LitPicks Book Reviews—April 2008

Theme—Transgressions
This month we consider women who cross boundaries, defy codes, and flout tradition. They gain much—and lose much—as they search for a truer self. What are we to make of them?
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
219 pp.


Alice Walker (The Color Purple) was responsible for kindling our current interest in this lovely but once neglected work. Their Eyes was a favorite of hers, now a favorite of many, and "short-listed" as a favorite of book clubseverywhere.

From the opening lines we know this story is of a dream not to be deferred*—not, that is, for Janie Mae Crawford, the novel's heroine:

 

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Loving Frank
Nancy Horan, 2007
400 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
April 2008

Though engrossing and beautifully imagined, this book is disturbing. When real-life Mamah Cheney leaves her husband and children to elope with Frank Lloyd Wright, she pays a price. Throughout, one wonders: is the price too high or not high enough?

Yet author Nancy Horan doesn't ask us to judge; she simply wants to reveal how people make complicated choices and how they manage to live with their decisions.
 
Labels: Great Works

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Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy, 1877
838 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
April 2008

Powerful, tragic (you know what happens, right?), and one of the greatest reads in all of literature.

Outwardly, Anna Karenina is the story of a woman struggling to break free of one web—marriage—only to find herself entrapped in a different web. The latter, more pernicious, is the futility of life centered on self. In a final, brilliant interior monologue, Anna realizes she cannot escape her own self.
 

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