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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Books Read Lately: Gaddis, Eugenides, Fowles

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

Gaddis wrote the story of identity (theft), forgery, and the high price(s) we pay for fame AND obscurity, in 1955. I think, if he were alive today, he’d say things have only gotten worse. The beauty of this novel (all 490,000 words) is how Gaddis has not given anything away; he hardly lets the reader know what’s “going on” in the plot. Yet there are intricately described places, and people; there’s are dozens of pages of non-stop dialogue. This is a fun book that takes the reader into a world of danger, beauty, loveless-love, depression, and unfailing hope.

The Marriage Plot by Jefferey Eugenides

I was disappointed by the start of this book … too cute, and the whiff of commercial story-telling. And then Eugenides’s wit and erudition came out from the curtain wings and played the part I recognized from his previous books. Anyway … the love between college students is a nice flashback; the intellectualizing of affection, of lust, of “the possible.” The interwoven stories of Madeliene and her male suitors is often funny, and terribly real.

The Ebony Tower by John Fowles

This collection of five novellas has art as its link; the way, the why, the how-to, the what-for, and even the why-not? Underlying each is human frailty: in love, work, mind, and body. These are very well written stories, which take you to places, and into the minds of people, whom you have not had the pleasure of meeting before. At least, I wish I had had that pleasure.


My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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