The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare 1993- English ed. (205 pgs/read 58)
A low-level clerk in a overly bureaucratic nation sorts and analyses the citizens’ dreams. Interesting premise, but a bit too overly-veiled and metaphorical for me.
Blood Kin by Ceridwen Dovey 2008 (183 pgs/read 41)
A ruler’s personal chef, barber, and portrait painter are imprisoned during a political coup. It never really took off.
The Swimmer by Zsuzsu Bank 2005-English ed. (278 pgs/read 94)
A spacious, introspective novel set in 1950s Hungary. Kata and her younger brother Isti find their lives unalterably changed when their mother abandons the family with no notice. Their father promptly sells the family home and leads them into a rootless existence, traveling from distant relative to distant relative. This is one of those books I’d love to return to. But after chipping away at it for six months, I had to let it go.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer 1961 (255 pgs/read 55)
I thought I’d read this as a child, but it didn’t seem in the least familiar. And worse, it wasn’t anywhere as compelling as the childhood books I did love.
The River Wife by Jonis Agee 2007 (393 pgs/read 142)
A young pregnant bride, whose husband is often absent on mysterious business, fills her empty nights reading the journals of her husband’s Missouri ancestors. Fairly interesting at first, especially the woman’s survival after an earthquake leaves her trapped in the family cabin as the river rises nearby. But I lost interest about the point where her baby gets eaten by wild dogs & she suddenly starts up an affair with John James Audubon.
The Outlander by Gil Adamson 2008 (389 pgs/read 20)
On the run, a woman tries to elude her in-laws who blame her for her husband’s murder. Failed to grab me.