LitPicks Book Reviews—October 2007

Theme—Novelist as Master Weaver
This month's selections fall under the category of "social novel"—sprawling works that interweave multiple plot strands with large casts of characters. They reflect the complex fabric of life by encompassing social, political, and philosophical issues of the day.
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Can't Wait to Get to Heaven
Fannie Flagg, 2006
375 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
October 2007

You can't help but love this book. It's warm, funny, and at times a real belly-guffaw. While not a "social novel" in the true literary sense, it's close enough for our "Lighter Touch" novel.

Flagg returns her readers to Elmwood Springs, a small tightly-knit community in Missouri, whose residents fret and scramble and cogitate when one of their own lies near death...or is dead... or hangs somewhere in between.
 

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The Whole World Over
Julia Glass, 2006
512 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
October 2007

I was feeling dejected—having just finished a number of books by well-known authors, none of which I could recommend. Then I picked up this beautiful book, and it may well be my recent favorite, along with Bel Canto.

Julia Glass (author of Three Junes, a 2002 National Book Award winner) populates this novel with a large cast of characters, each provided with a rich past and generous inner life.
 
Labels: Great Works

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Middlemarch
George Eliot, 1871-72
~800 pp. (varies by publisher)

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
October 2007

This is one of the great works in English literature. And like reading many such works, it's an ambitious undertaking. You'll need time and perseverance (my copy comes in at over 800 pages).

Have I scared you off? Well, you need to know what you're in for. But if you choose to read this work—and stick with it—it will enthrall you. There is good reason why Middlemarch sits at the pinnacle of the Realistic novel.
 

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