inverarity: (inverarity)
A brilliantly funny stand-alone sequel that will appeal to all serious book-lovers.


Amy Falls Down

Thomas Dunne Books, 2013, 336 pages




Amy Gallup is an aging novelist and writing instructor living in Escondido, California, with her dog, Alphonse. Since recent unsettling events, she has made some progress. While she still has writer's block, she doesn't suffer from it. She's still a hermit, but she has allowed some of her class members into her life. She is no longer numb, angry, and sardonic: she is merely numb and bemused, which is as close to happy as she plans to get. Amy is calm.

So, when on New Year's morning she shuffles out to her backyard garden to plant a Norfolk pine, she is wholly unprepared for what happens next. Amy falls down. A simple accident, as a result of which something happens, and then something else, and then a number of different things, all as unpredictable as an eight-ball break. At first the changes are small, but as these small events carom off one another, Amy's life changes in ways that range from ridiculous to frightening to profound. This most reluctant of adventurers is dragged and propelled by train, plane, and automobile through an outlandish series of antic media events on her way to becoming - to her horror - a kind of celebrity. And along the way, as the numbness begins to wear off, she comes up against something she has avoided all her life: her future, that "sleeping monster, not to be poked."

Amy Falls Down explores, through the experience of one character, the role that accident plays in all our lives. "You turn a corner and beasts break into arias, gunfire erupts, waking a hundred families, starting a hundred different conversations. You crack your head open and three thousand miles away a stranger with Asperger's jump-starts your career." We are all like Amy. We are all wholly unprepared for what happens next. Also, there is a basset hound.


If you are a 'Bookish' person, you will love this book. )

Verdict: I am convinced Jincy Willett is a quiet and underappreciated genius, and Amy Falls Down, while no more exciting plot-wise than its title indicates, is a true "literary" novel in the sense of being intelligently, unabashedly well-written — but meant to entertain, not to win awards and get praise from all the right people. 10/10.

Also by Jincy Willett: My review of The Writing Class.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity: (inverarity)
A murder mystery set in a creative writing class — one of the best books I've read this year!


The Writing Class

Thomas Dunne Books, 2008, 326 pages




Amy Gallup is gifted, perhaps too gifted for her own good. Published at only twenty-two, she peaked early and found critical but not commercial success. Now her former life is gone, along with her writing career and beloved husband. A reclusive widow, her sole companion a dour, flatulent basset hound who barely tolerates her, her daily mantra Kill Me Now, she is a loner afraid to be alone. Her only bright spot each week is the writing class that she teaches at the university extension.

This semester's class is full of the usual suspects: the doctor who wants to be the next Robin Cook, the overly enthusiastic repeat student, the slacker, the unassuming student with the hidden talent, the prankster, the know-it-all... Amy's seen them all before. But something is very different about this class---and the clues begin with a scary phone call in the middle of the night and obscene threats instead of peer evaluations on student writing assignments. Amy soon realizes that one of her students is a very sick puppy, and when a member of the class is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect. As she dissects each student's writing for clues, Amy must enlist the help of everyone in her class, including the murderer, to find the killer among them.

Suspenseful, extremely witty, brilliantly written, unexpectedly hilarious, and a joy from start to finish, The Writing Class is a one-of-a-kind novel that rivals Jincy Willett's previous masterpieces


For anyone who's ever been in a writing workshop and fantasized about killing that obnoxious guy who keeps going on and on about his Lovecraftian steampunk romance... )

Verdict: I loved this book! I didn't really expect to, but the notion is fresh and funny, it's entirely self-contained (I do not foresee a series of cozies starring a mystery-solving creative writing teacher), and best of all, it's written with the skilled prose, wit, and multi-layered, surprising characters of a gifted literary writer. The Writing Class is high quality lit-fic disguised as a high-concept genre murder mystery.




My complete list of book reviews.

Profile

inverarity: (Default)
inverarity

January 2015

S M T W T F S
     1 23
456 78 910
11 121314151617
181920 2122 23 24
2526272829 3031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 08:44 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios