It’s always inspiring at the end of summer vacation season to hear a friend rave about a book she read on the plane, on the beach or in the cabin. So we thought we’d share three novels that our Hometown Pasadena friends can’t stop talking about as summer draws to a close. Before everyone’s reading (and talking about) Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which came out yesterday, consider one of these titles, all of which are now waiting on our nightstands, in the following order:
The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer. How could there be room in the literary landscape for yet another book about World War II, you might ask? When the book is a first novel that is A) “stunning” (says Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times); B) about the Hungarian Jews’ experience of the Holocaust, which has received little attention; and C) when it is a novel that reveals great truths about love, family and loyalty, while being so captivating you’ll stay up too late reading. Or so says our mom. And Mom is always right.
My Hollywood, by Mona Simpson. This novel by one of L.A.’s most talented writers has been out for only a few weeks, but it’s already the talk of the town and high on the bestseller lists. It’s the story of the relationship between a well-intentioned upper-middle-class Santa Monica woman, Claire, and her immigrant Filipina nanny, Lola, told by the two women in alternating chapters. Our friend Larry says it’s funny, incisive, thought-provoking and totally absorbing. Jill had some issues with Simpson’s take on Lola’s voice, but still says it’s a very fine work that resonates.
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. A dog’s-eye view of life with a man facing daunting challenges, this novel is touching, dramatic, page-turning and emotional, says our friend Jennifer. If you liked Life of Pi and Marley and Me, you’ll want to read this book.