Great American Novel Quest – The First Batch Update

The story so far…

 

Great American Novel Quest

Since I’ve now read nine of the original batch of ten books I selected at the start of the Great American Novel Quest and am delaying the tenth for a while, I thought it might be time for a quick round-up and the selection of the next ten.

It’s taken me much longer to read these than I originally planned, for the usual reason – too many review copies of new books. I just can’t seem to break that habit! However, the protracted timescale is no reflection on the quest – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed becoming a little more familiar with some of the greats of American fiction and am looking forward to the next selection just as much.

peanuts 1

* * * * * * *

 

First, a brief summary of the criteria and how well they were achieved by the books I’ve read so far…

The Great American Novel – must achieve 5 stars and 5 GAN flags.

A Great American Novel – must achieve 5 stars and any 4 GAN flags.

Great novel – 5 stars books that don’t achieve at least 4 GAN flags are simply great novels.

The quest is of course entirely subjective and results are heavily influenced by my personal preferences, so the whole thing shouldn’t really be taken too seriously!

peanuts 3

* * * * * * *

 

The GAN criteria (which are explained in greater depth in the original post) are:

1. Must be written by an American author or an author who has lived long enough in the US to assimilate the culture.

2. The theme must shed light on a specific and important aspect of American culture and society of the time of its writing.

3. Must be innovative and original in theme.

4. Must be superbly written.

5. Must capture the entire ‘American experience’.

peanuts 2

* * * * * * *

So here are the results for the first batch of ten. If you’d like to see any of the full reviews, please click on the book cover…

* * * * * * *

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

 

the great gatsby 2

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

A Great American Novel!

* * * * * * *

 

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

 

revolutionary-road

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

A Great American Novel!

* * * * * * *

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

 

huckleberry finn

🙂 🙂 🙂

Gulp! Sorry, America!

* * * * * * *

 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

 

the road

😀 😀 😀 😀 🙂

A Great Novel!

* * * * * * *

 

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

 

empire falls

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

A Great Novel!

 

* * * * * * *

 

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

 

american pastoral

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

The Great American Novel!!!

 

* * * * * * *

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
by Michael Chabon

 

the amazing adventures of kavalier and klay

😀 😀 🙂

Oh dear!

 

* * * * * * *

 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

 

the grapes of wrath

😀 😀 😀 😀 🙂

 

 

A Great American Novel!

 

* * * * * * *

 

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

 

the lay of the land

😦

Umm…!!

 

* * * * * * *

 

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

 

gilead

This is the one I haven’t yet read and am postponing for a little while.

 

It won the Pulitzer!

 

* * * * * * *

 

Check back tomorrow for details of the next ten. And meantime, please let me know what you think of the ratings so far…

peanuts 4

65 thoughts on “Great American Novel Quest – The First Batch Update

  1. Oh dear – there might be some people who will be cross that you weren’t more enthusiastic about Huck Finn! Now, this is a thought that should probably stay in my head but I’m going to whisper it to you any way… Grapes Of Wrath sounds like it should be a book about haemorrhoids. I have never been able to shift that from my mind when I see that book *shakes head in despair at self*

  2. Of the ten I’ve read seven. You have a difficult job finding THE one because
    each could appeal to a different kind of audience. I’ll probably never reread
    most of them, but might reread *** Gilead***!

    • Yes, it can only ever be subjective – but of course I’m right! 😉 I will read Gilead – but everyone seems to think you should have a basic knowledge of the Bible to really ‘get’ it… I’m working on that!

  3. Thanks for the terrific summing-up, FictionFan. I’m very glad you’ve found a few that really ‘count’ for you as Great American Novels. I actually felt the same way about The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath. As to The Lay of the Land…well…you get points for giving it a go, anyway. 😉

  4. Love the fonts and how you laid all the books out down there, with their respective smiley faces and all.

    Now…look how you rip poor Mark Twain. And to think you used to like and respect him at one time… *laughs*

    Not Gatsby! If I was in that book, I would’ve chanced it completely.

    *laughs about the Peanuts* I love them, to many deaths.

    • Aw, thanks, C-W-W! By the time I got to the fifth book I was beginning to wish I’d just done a list!

      I did! *laughs* But that was before IA – I still haven’t forgiven him! So I don’t feel as bad now about ripping Huck as I did at the time…

      Oh, one day – when you’re less heartless – you’ll recognise the true glory of Gatsby! And P&P…

      Me too! Who would you rather be – Charlie Brown or Snoopy?

      • *laughs* Your hard work was appreciated, though, so all is good!

        Well, MT was just ripping it ’cause he was being read mainly by an American audience. Doubt he felt that way!

        Nah, only girls like those books! Most boys don’t, you know.

        I’d like to be the chap with the blanket! Linus?

        • *curtseys and smiles*

          Huh! So sweet to try to defend him – but I bet he did!

          Oh, boys like Gatsby! And they only don’t like P&P ‘cos they’re jealous of Darby. Understandably.

          Oh good! I was hoping you wouldn’t say Snoopy, ‘cos I want to be him!

  5. Gilead is on my 20 Books of Summer and I keep bumping it back, primarily because I’ve read the first 100 pages. 😦

    The writing itself is good (a bit soft, but good), but nothing happens. As in: there’s no “plot”. Stuff is set up for stuff to happen, but it doesn’t. I’ve heard that Robinson’s other book (Home) returns to the same characters from Gilead and also has tons of character building with no plot. Who knew there was so much to say about this family!

    Gatsby is so, so, so fantastically good. It has a spot on my top ten for sure. You can pull almost any paragraph and be in awe of Fitzgerald’s writing.

    • Oh dear! I’ve put it back on the ground that all the reviews suggest you need a basic knowledge of the Bible to really get it – which I don’t have, but am working on! But I absolutely hate books with missing plots! Hmm… I may put it even further back…

      Yep! A brilliant book! Even thought it’s not The GAN, it’s still my favourite American novel, though Revolutionary Road runs it close.

  6. Have you read The Yearling?

    It was nice to see the line up. Fascinating, actually, so many different approaches and characters and authors, vying for the best. Carry on!

    • No. Haha! You can always tell when a book is on the US schools curriculum – Amazon is awash with 1-star reviews from kids bitterly complaining about being forced into reading them! Is it good? I see it’s about a deer – I really try to avoid animal stories whenever I can. Too soft-hearted when it comes to our furry friends!

      Yes, ma’am, will do!!

      • It is actually a good book. The trouble with school kids nowadays is that they do not know how to read. They know how to flip their electronics, though. Gad. I’m sounding like an old cranky schoolmarm. The story itself is actually about a family struggling to make the poor soil of Florida to give them a enough to make a subsistence. There is a deer, yes.

        Well, how about South Moon Under? Another one by same author. It’s more readable. My favorite story is Cross Creek, but it isn’t a novel.

        • Oh, Susan, (sorry to butt in FF, but i couldn’t resist) I think my inner cranky schoolmarm has grown and grown and is now gigantic. I’m wearing a curled lip more and more often about how we dumb down, rather than challenge ‘the kids’ I fully expect ‘Janet and John’ to end up being A level texts any time soon (for those much younger, and those not on this side of the pond, Janet and John was a primary school book for children to help them to learn to read at the tender age of 5 or so.

          • Ah, yes, the primers. Ours were Dick, Jane and little sister Sally not to leave out Spot and Puff. They need to learn to love words, and discover the power of them. The nuances that make a good word into a great one.

  7. I haven’t read American Pastoral, but now I feel I must! I appreciate your honest review of Huck Finn. I enjoyed it fine, but I’m not sure I can support it as an all-encompassing GAM. That opinion is sometimes unpopular here in the American south. 🙂

    • American Pastoral really is brilliant! I’m not always so impressed by Roth but I can forgive him a lot for having written that one. Haha! Yes, I can imagine that Twain will have some strong enthusiasts over there! To be honest I just found it dragged in the middle and then again at the end. Tom Sawyer was a much better book structurally, I thought.

    • Oh dear, but I haven’t recovered from Grapes of Wrath yet! 😉 Seriously, though, thanks for the rec – I shall add it to the list. There’s no doubt of the power of his writing, even if I find he’s too emotionally manipulative sometimes.

      Thanks for popping in and commenting! 🙂

    • Yep! Two brilliant books – even if neither is a GAN because of that pesky fifth criterion, they’re still my favourite American novels. And being a great novel is more important than being a GAN!

  8. I’m interested to hear how you like Gilead. I loved it but it isn’t the most traditional novel. (And I know not everybody gets as excited about religious themes in novels as I do!) And, interestingly, Robinson is the only woman on the list.

    Oh, and this Canadian has never quite gotten the fuss over Mark Twain either.

    • I want to read it, but (sit down, I might be about to shock you!) everyone talks about the religious aspects and how a basic knowledge of the Bible is important to ‘get’ the themes. *clears throat* And I’ve never actually read the Bible! I’m working on it though! 😉 So I thought I’d put Gilead off until I’ve finished the Bible…

      Yes, that was a real error in the first batch, but the second batch will have more women and a bit more diversity generally. I fear dead white men still seem to rule as far as GAN lists go though.

      Yeah, I honestly don’t understand why it’s held up as a great anti-racist tract. But I think it must be the way it’s taught in school or something…

  9. Well, I for one am stinging a bit over your review of Huck Finn (though in all honesty, there really are better Twain books!)

    I haven’t read Gilead or American Pastoral. I don’t know why, frankly, other than that we were busy reading writers from other countries. Maybe I’ll give one or the other a go (after you review both, of course!)

    Thanks for including the Peanuts gang — they’re always delightful!

    • Haha! Sorry ’bout that! A certain other Twain fan wasn’t best pleased with me either, if I recall! 😉 But if it helps to make amends I did give five stars to both Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper!

      Yes, we’re much more insular over here – at least in my day. By far the bulk of the authors we read were British – Steinbeck and Melville were the only exceptions I can think of. This being my excuse for why I’ve read so little American literature. American Pastoral is brilliant – I highly recommend it. Here’s the review – https://fictionfanblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/gan-quest-american-pastoral-by-philip-roth/ . Gilead will be a while yet…

      You can never go wrong with Peanuts! 😀

  10. A great list. I giggled when I saw the low grade for Huck Finn. 🙂 I haven’t read Gilead and a few others on your list. I’m surprised that “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry wasn’t on the list. 🙂

  11. Well, this is one of my very favorite literary subjects, so of course I cannot resist adding some of my thoughts.

    Of course it is your criteria, but I think the “captures the entire American experience” is a tricky one. No book really captures that; it is almost impossible. We both like “American Pastoral” a great deal, but I would not say that it captures the entire American experience any more than “The Great Gatsby.” AP is certainly about many important things; and it summarizes the decades of, say, the ’40’s to the ’70’s, in a very thoughtful and powerful way. “Gatsby” could be said to be “about the ’20’s,” but of course it is more than that. It is about “The American Dream,” to use that term which is so popular among literary critics, and which does have a great resonance and even poignancy to it. I would just venture to suggest that a criterion which excludes “Gatsby” may not be ideal. And we could also say that any great book is likely to capture much more than its specific subject. Maybe it was designed to do so, but those last two pages of “Gatsby” take the story out of its time and place, into something more profound about America.

    But if “Gatsby” cannot be the GAN, then it is a new ballgame, as we like to say.. I must read your “Huckleberry Finn” review; I have not read the book in years, but It is very good and very brave in a number of ways; and unforgettable, and not just because of the Huck and Jim interactions, but for its perceptions of mid-19th century America. If you would have asked me, say, twenty years ago, what I thought the five greatest American novels were, I would have said that in no order, they were “Gatsby,” “Moby Dick,’ “Huckleberry Finn,’ “The Sound and the Fury,” and then…I am not sure, maybe ‘Absalom, Absalom,” or “The Sun Also Rises,” or even “Lolita.” But you have knocked two of them out! And I do not think that you will consider Faulkner’s books as capturing the entire American experience, either. Nor Lolita,, or Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio,” which is literally a collection of short stories, but tied together for an indelible portrait of early 20th century small town America; and for my money, better than anything Steinbeck ever wrote, though I certainly did appreciate “The Grapes of Wrath.”

    As much as I liked “American Pastoral,” I just can’t quite consider that the GAN, though it is very high up there. It is better than “Revolutionary Road” in my opinion; though certainly I found that impressive as well. At least one I really like is winning so far!

    I have not read the Cormac McCarthy, but I imagine that is not that different than “Blood Meridian” which I found fairly uninteresting; a lot of poetic language and rather lurid landscapes substituting for a compelling narrative. You have impelled me to read “Empire Falls.” I know that Russo wins various awards, but every time I peruse one of his books at the bookstore, it doesn’t seem as if I would like it. But I should cerainly give this a try, particularly if I want to consider myself knowledgeable about more recent American literature.

    A few other thoughts: I am glad and impressed that you did not like the Chabon; I got one of his once and thought it was not very good; of course I usually hate “serio-comic novels,” where any seriousness is undercut by postmodern nonsense. Also your perceptive comments on the Ford, of course. I had to read Marilyn Robinson’s “Housekeeping” in an Extension class I took for fun; the rather weird teacher thought this was some kind of great book. It wasn’t; and I seriously doubt that this other one is, either. I would tend to suggest that in the eagerness to find an American female author to match up with the canon males, some people have given Robinson a great deal more credit than she deserves. But I haven’t read this, and you may perhaps feel differently. I would take Joan Didion’s “Play It As It Lays,” or “A Book of Common Prayer,” over Robinson’s book.

    Before you cast your final vote, I hope you will read “Moby-Dick” (you may find it a slog, but I know that you liked the writing style, and it really is a wonderfully literary style; and the themes are profound and universal). “The Sound and the Fury,” (a book that one never forgets, and stylistically is a work of genius); and/or “Absalom, Absalom,” (also amazing, and quite grand guignol). And maybe “The Young Lions” (it is a novel about WWII, but so brilliantly written and involving. Along with “American Pastoral” it is one of the two great modern American novels I have read in the last twenty years or so). And if you have not read “Lolita,” you should definitely read that. I don’t know if one would consider Nabokov to have been sufficiently assimilated to meet the criterion, but the book is, among a number of things, a pretty telling portrait of late ’50’s America, or at least a certain part of it. And do read “Winesburg, Ohio,” one of the most surprising and gratifying reading experiences I had in my American literature courses.

    But these are just my thoughts; and it is your quest, so I will be excited to follow along and see what you decide!

    P.S. One could actually do worse than saying that “Peanuts,” the collected strips over a period of say, 1959-1967, may sort of stand in as a GAN!

    • It is tricky, but then I’ve come to feel it should be. To create a criterion that is relatively easy to achieve would result in lots of The GANs, which would kind of devalue the whole process. I would argue that if Gatsby were to be The GAN, then so would several other of these – Revolutionary Road. American Pastoral, Grapes of Wrath. So four The GANs out of ten books? Status as The GAN perhaps shouldn’t exist at all, but if it does then it shouldn’t be quite that easy to achieve. Don’t forget my criteria allow all four of these books to be GANs – but there must be something extra to differentiate The GANs from GANs.

      I would argue that AP does indeed fill the fifth criterion – it covers the immigrant experience, race riots, the destruction of the ’50s American Dream, Vietnam, the increasing involvement of women in the political process, sexual liberalisation, generational conflict – I doubt if there was anyone in the US who wasn’t affected by one or more of these at the time the book is set in. And ‘the entire American experience’ only relates to that snapshot in time. I would also argue that Gatsby, however wonderful it is (and it is!) doesn’t cover a quarter as much ground – it looks at an exclusive portion of society only. And the same applies to the rest of these.

      I did give quite a bit of consideration to changing the fifth, but in the end decided it does pretty much achieve its intention – it makes it almost impossible to be The GAN, as it should be… but not completely impossible. But of course it’s all entirely subjective, and not to be taken too seriously since I don’t feel I could class myself as expert enough to be the sole arbiter of American literary greatness!! 😉 Really I’m more interested in finding great novels, whether they are GANs or not. And even ‘great novel’ is a term that is ripe for contention…

      Haha! Sorry for knocking out two of your contenders! But I may go on and knock out a few more too… 😉 But I’m not really looking for an overall winner – if I end up with two or three The GANs I’ll be quite happy – hopefully lots more GANs though!

      I found The Road patchy in terms of writing but I can still see the landscapes in my mind’s eye and still find myself thinking about it often. It’s another like The Sun Also Rises which I appreciated more after the reading than during. Empire Falls is much lighter than most of these, but I think gives a great picture of the time and place and has some wonderful characterisation. I was disappointed in Kavalier and Klay partly because I really enjoyed Telegraph Avenue – again not profound but with some staggering pyrotchnics in the writing, which didn’t happen so much in K&K.

      Huck Finn? Overhyped! 😉

      Haha! Yes, I agree about Peanuts – maybe I should include it in the third batch. I’m keeping the second batch under wraps till tomorrow…

      • Well explained. I am a sports fan, so I like the idea of a winner, and maybe a blue ribbon ceremony. On the other hand, my choices for Oscars and such things usually lose, so I might be better off with several GANs.

        I agree that “American Pastoral” does cover more of American social history than any of the other contenders. And it is so good in many ways that I would not mind if it won the GAN-lthough I consider “Gatsby” to be a virtually perfect novel. I wonder if you have ever read “Tender is the Night?” It is also a brilliant novel; when I first read it, I thought, “This is better than Gatsby,” but having read both again, it is not, though very good. I would probably rank it as one of the top ten Amercan novels.

        • At the rate I’m reading them, the ceremony would be so far in the future I might even have to replace my old ballgown for it! I feel it’s going to be a lifetime’s work…

          Yes, I prefer both Gatsby and Rev Road as novels, but they don’t either of them cover as much territory. I did read ‘Tender is the Night’ just after I read Gatsby for the first time, and as usual only have vague memories of it. I certainly liked it a great deal, but don’t think I thought it matched Gatsby. One day I’ll re-read it…

  12. I don’t know how you manage, FF! I love your ratings. It actually makes me think I need to give The Road one more try and stop throwing it across the room in a rage at his lack of proper punctuation. Regarding Giliead…good luck is all I’ll say. Beautifully written and thought provoking, but a doozy to get through for lack of plot and dialogue.

    • Haha! It has taken me a year and a half to read these nine books admittedly! It took me a long time to get into McCarthy’s writing style in The Road – in fact, I’m not sure I ever did. But it’s one of those books that has stayed in my mind and that I still think and wonder about often – which must be a sign of greatness, I feel. Oh dear – I really hate plotless books! I have a sinking feeling about Gilead…

  13. Marilynne Robertson is on my to-read list. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Gilead when you get around to reading it.

    I enjoyed Revolutionary Road. The film version of it, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, is also very good. Have you seen it?

    • I’ve heard so many conflicting things about Gilead – I’m partly intigued and partly apprehensive about reading it. But it does get mentioned on Great American Novel lists quite often, so it must be done!

      I watched the film just after I’d read the book, in fact, and I was really impressed by it. I thought they got the spirit of the whole thing just about completely, and I thought both central performances were great. Plus it was beautifully shot, I felt – it looked wonderful.

      I haven’t read Franzen, but you’re right – he probably needs to go on the GAN list – thanks! I really struggle to find many modern books that match up the classics – but maybe there are contemporary masterpieces out there that just haven’t been recognised yet!

  14. Also, have you read anything by Jonathan Franzen? He is reputed to be a great American novelist and his writing is widely praised, but I started reading one of his books and (*whisper it*) I didn’t finish it. I found it rather tedious.

  15. I love the superbly appropriate Peanuts cartoons. A great find!! I’m jealous!! Of the books – I’ve waxed lyrical about “The Grapes Of Wrath” on your site before. I love it!. I’ve never got on with F.Scott Fitzgerald and I have tried – “Tender Is The Night”, “Diamonds As Big As The Ritz” and “The Great Gatsby” have just not done it for me and I don’t exactly know why….. I did enjoy “Kavalier And Clay” when I read it but it’s probably not a great American novel. I have “Huckleberry Finn” sat on my Kindle ready to read as I recently read “Tom Sawyer”. Now, I’m a little disappointed that you were down on it because I’ve always assumed that “Huck” was deemed to be a much better book than “Tom” and have been “saving it” as a treat! There were some parts of Tom Sawyer which made me feel uncomfortable with my modern-day head on, however. Can’t wait to see what might be in the next ten……………

    • Ha! Well, I might let you borrow them sometime! 😉 It always surprises me when people don’t like Gatsby, though I know there are loads of you! I read some of his other stuff many years ago but none of it resonated nearly as strongly with me – good but not great would probably be my verdict. I loved Telegraph Avenue, but somehow K&K didn’t have the same effect on me. I was surprised when I kinda ripped Huck at how many people, especially Americans, sort of agreed with me – I reckon it lives on its reputation. It made me much more uncomfortable than Tom Sawyer, in truth. My reaction was so different ot what I was expecting that I went on and read a very good lit-crit of it – Huck Finn’s America, which Kind of explained the things that had bothered me. If I read it again it’s possible I might enjoy it more… but to be honest, I doubt it. *whispers* I thought it was a bit boring! Hope you enjoy it though! 😉

  16. I’m deeply impressed by your industry. I’ve only read two of these, but I enjoyed all your reviews. I’ll await your next ten with interest.

  17. Wow, FF, I bow to your industry. I have read four of these – the Road stands out as it was so depressing, possibly even more than Grapes of Wraths – but like BigSister I enjoyed reading your reviews – although I will skip picking up The lay of The Land and possibly Gilead 😉 A couple of my fav American novels are Philip Roth’s the Human Stain and Shirley Jackson’s We have Always Lived in The Castle (which is almost a novella), and for no reason than they stuck with me. Look forward to more from you 🙂

    • Ha! Thank you, but don’t be too impressed – it’s taken me eighteen months to get through these nine! 😉 Is The Human Stain the one about the guy ‘passing’ as white? If so, yes, I loved it too. (My memory’s shocking for any book I read before I started reviewing!) And We Have Always Lived in the Castle is brilliant! I only read it about a year ago and totally loved it – Merricat is such a superb creation. Oddly, I found the ending of The Road weirdly uplifting – I’m not sure it was meant to be, but it left me pondering lots of ‘deep thoughts’. The Grapes just left me depressed and furious!!

      • Yes, Merricat is great. I think We Have Always Lived … is my fav book of all times 🙂 Glad the Road uplifted you. Maybe Ill have to read it again. Maybe ….

  18. I can feel you breathing down the back of my neck and whispering urgently ‘American Pastoral, American Pastoral’ I’m kind of nervously still waiting for Revolutionary Road to indicate that it’s finished with me, as it hasn’t yet, and I’m still thinking about it (probably partly because I’ve just watched the film, and am now thinking about that, too)

    Lovely recap

    I haven’t read Gilead, but I did read Home. I’m not sure, to be honest, how you’ll get on with it. I hope it won’t spoil your reading of The Bibble, but there is a character called God who appears quite a lot in it. And is quite an inconsistent character. You might have some problems with credibility. Not to mention the cast of characters run into thousands, and it gets very confusing as they do a lot of begatting. Whatever that is

    • Rev Road hasn’t finished with me yet either! And it must be over a year now. Did you enjoy the film? Yes, when you feel strong enough, you MUST tackle AP – I’ll just keep going on about it till you do!

      Haha! I think God’s already appeared but apparently Jesus only comes into it much later on. The begatting does become a little wearing, I admit! But I am enjoying the rare experience of catching the odd Biblical reference – and I do feel like a bit of a heathen never to have read it. The problem of being brought up atheist! I’m deeply dubious about Gilead, but it does tend to appear on GAN lists – possibly just to make up the numbers of women… we shall see!

  19. Am sitting in my room at the Hyatt in Century City (Los Angeles), getting ready for the start of tomorrow’s children’s book writing conference. Too tired to write, so I thought I’d check out your post before I went to sleep. Glad I did. Am reminded that I must move American Pastoral up toward the top of my pile. I’ve brought “The Expendable Man,” “Life After Life,” and “The Glass Castle” on my trip. Will be reading those after the conference and once I get to Maine for a little R&R.

    • Gosh, you’re getting around this summer! You’ll need your R&R! Yes, AP is a must-read – I don’t know whether you’ll enjoy it exactly, but I think you’ll appreciate its power. You must tell me how you get in with ‘Life After Life’ – the Lady raved about it if I recall (but then she liked that dratted bird book! 😉 ) ‘The Expendable Man’ looks interesting – though actually there seem to be two books with that title – I’m assuming the Dorothy B Hughes one? I may have to try one of her books myself sometime…

      • Yes, that’s the one. I thought you had recommended it? Hmmmm. I’m overloaded on conference information. Good news is, I received a critique from a prominent editor who liked my work and asked to see more. Yippee! Now, back to work….

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