Reading Nora Roberts

ABC-CLIO
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Nora Roberts's captivating biography and extensive canon are explored in this comprehensive reader's guide, including coverage on her early works, critical successes, trilogies and quartets, short stories and novellas, futuristic mysteries written as J.D. Robb, and titles under other pseudonyms.

Reading Nora Roberts shows how this remarkable author expands the limits of the genres in which she writes, exploring feminist ideas, Celtic and Western settings, psychological and religious themes, and Gothic and supernatural elements. The book also highlights Roberts's willingness to have her characters face serious real-world issues, including sexism and racism, gun violence, abortion, suicide, corporate greed, and career burnout.

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About the author

Mary Ellen Snodgrass, a professor of Latin and English at Lenoir Rhyne University, is an award-winning author of textbooks and reference works and a former columnist of the Charlotte Observer.

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Additional Information

Publisher
ABC-CLIO
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Published on
Dec 14, 2009
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Pages
155
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ISBN
9780313362941
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / Women Authors
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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Award-winning African-American playwright August Wilson created a cultural chronicle of black America through such works as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, and Two Trains Running. The authentic ring of wit, anecdote, homily, and plaint proved that a self-educated Pittsburgh ghetto native can grow into a revered conduit for a century of black achievement. He forced readers and audiences to examine the despair generated by poverty and racism by exploring African-American heritage and experiences over the course of the twentieth century. This literary companion provides the reader with a source of basic data and analysis of characters, dates, events, allusions, staging strategies and themes from the work of one of America’s finest playwrights. The text opens with an annotated chronology of Wilson’s life and works, followed by his family tree. Each of the 166 encyclopedic entries that make up the body of the work combines insights from a variety of sources along with generous citations; each concludes with a selected bibliography on such relevant subjects as the blues, Malcolm X, irony, roosters, and Gothic mode. Charts elucidate the genealogies of Wilson’s characters, the Charles, Hedley, and Maxson families, and account for weaknesses in Wilson’s female characters. Two appendices complete the generously cross-referenced work: a timeline of events in Wilson’s life and those of his characters, and a list of 40 topics for projects, composition, and oral analysis.
"I'm an LA native with a lot of love for LA crime fiction, but instead of preaching to the noir choir about The Long Goodbye, I'd like to gush about Southland by Nina Revoyr. It's a brilliant, ambitious, moving literary crime novel about two families in South Los Angeles and their tangled history between the 1930s and the 1990s. The central mystery is the death of four black boys in a Japanese-American man's store during the Watts Rebellion of 1965. It's a powerful book, one that I think about often, as well as a huge influence on my work. Right up there with Chandler."
--Stephanie Cha (of the LARB) in GQ on "The Greatest Crime Novelists on Their Favorite Crime Novels Ever"

"Jackie Ishida's grandfather had a store in Watts where four boys were killed during the riots in 1965, a mystery she attempts to solve."
--New York Times Book Review, Ross MacDonald on "Where Noir Lives in the City of Angels"

"[A]n absolutely compelling story of family and racial tragedy. Revoyr's novel is honest in detailing southern California's brutal history, and honorable in showing how families survived with love and tenacity and dignity."
--Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon

Southland brings us a fascinating story of race, love, murder and history, against the backdrop of an ever-changing Los Angeles. A young Japanese-American woman, Jackie Ishida, is in her last semester of law school when her grandfather, Frank Sakai, dies unexpectedly. While trying to fulfill a request from his will, Jackie discovers that four African-American boys were killed in the store Frank owned during the Watts Riots of 1965. Along with James Lanier, a cousin of one of the victims, Jackie tries to piece together the story of the boys' deaths. In the process, she unearths the long-held secrets of her family's history.

Southland depicts a young woman in the process of learning that her own history has bestowed upon her a deep obligation to be engaged in the larger world. And in Frank Sakai and his African-American friends, it presents characters who find significant common ground in their struggles, but who also engage each other across grounds--historical and cultural--that are still very much in dispute.

Moving in and out of the past--from the internment camps of World War II, to the barley fields of the Crenshaw District in the 1930s, to the streets of Watts in the 1960s, to the night spots and garment factories of the 1990s--Southland weaves a tale of Los Angeles in all of its faces and forms.

Nina Revoyr is the author of The Necessary Hunger ("Irresistible." --Time Magazine). She was born in Japan, raised in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and is of Japanese and Polish-American descent. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

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