The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved--grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses--as they navigate decisions of life and death. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, Maylis de Kerangal's The Heart has mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the breakthrough work of a new literary star.
As Charles Redfern lies motionless in hospital, his wife Anne and daughter Charlotte are forced to confront their relationships with him – and with each other. Anne, once beautiful and clever, has paled in the shadow of her husband's dominance. Charlotte, meanwhile, is battling with her own inner darkness and is desperate to prevent her relationship with her not-yet-divorced lover from disintegrating.
As the full truth of Charles's hold over them is brought to light, both women must reconcile themselves with the choices they have made, the secrets they have kept, and the uncertain future that now lies ahead of them.
So when Silver learns that he requires emergency life-saving heart surgery, he makes the radical decision to refuse the operation, choosing instead to spend what time he has left to repair his relationship with Casey, become a better man, and live in the moment—even if that moment isn’t going to last very long. As his exasperated family looks on, Silver grapples with the ultimate question of whether or not his own life is worth saving.
Wind and water and shoreline cant be changed. We have to work with the elements as they are. So writes longtime Buddhist practitioner and social worker Hill Anderson in Stoneport, a sophisticated novel that explores the figurative shorelines, or borders, between men and women, thought and emotion, and truth and fiction.
Intricate without unnecessary complexity, Stoneport weaves several story lines together to create whole cloth. When first introduced, Eli Fox is a young man. Eventually, he becomes an experienced therapist and supervises a bright young doctor named Meagan Rush. The story follows their unorthodox relationship, along with the traumas of the patients they counsel and ground-shaking changes in the field of behavioral medicine itself.
Andersons decades of experience is evident in his refined descriptions of his characters deepest doubts and highest hopes. His language is precise and evocative. For instance, he summarizes Elis childhood memories with lines like, He remembered his childhood with a sense of defeat and the awareness of a wound that did not bleed. Andersons imagery brings thoughts and emotions vividly to life.
Sea metaphors are central to Andersons storytelling, and his tale fittingly moves like a gently bobbing boat in a quiet harbor before he unleashes a storm of conflict. Eli, Meagan, their confused clients, and eccentric colleagues become familiar friends, and then the questions begin. Is Eli and Meagans relationship inappropriate? Will its exposure ruin Elis career? Are the therapists being forced into unethical treatment methods by the encroaching insurance industry? Anderson skillfully paces the action so that these conflicts almost simultaneously reach peak tension.
Five Star Clarion Review by Sheila M. Trask
In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets the attractive, charismatic Elihu Hoopes—the “man without a shadow”—whose devastated memory, unable to store new experiences or to retrieve the old, will make him the most famous and most studied amnesiac in history. Over the course of the next thirty years, Margot herself becomes famous for her experiments with E. H.—and inadvertently falls in love with him, despite the ethical ambiguity of their affair, and though he remains forever elusive and mysterious to her, haunted by mysteries of the past.
The Man Without a Shadow tracks the intimate, illicit relationship between Margot and Eli, as scientist and subject embark upon an exploration of the labyrinthine mysteries of the human brain. Where does “memory” reside? Where is “love”? Is it possible to love an individual who cannot love you, who cannot “remember” you from one meeting to the next?
Made vivid by her exceptional eye for detail and her keen insight into the human psyche, The Man Without A Shadow is a unique story of forbidden love, a kind of secret, evolving marriage, depicted in Joyce Carol Oates’s tight, impassioned prose. It is an uncanny, ambitious, and structurally complex novel that penetrates the mind and illuminates the heart.
More like a poetic biographical essay on a fictional person than a novel, The Cook is a coming-of-age journey centered on Mauro, a young self-taught cook. The story is told by an unnamed female narrator, Mauro’s friend and disciple who we also suspect might be in love with him. Set not only in Paris but in Berlin, Thailand, Burma, and other far-flung places over the course of fifteen years, the book is hyperrealistic—to the point of feeling, at times, like a documentary. It transcends this simplistic form, however, through the lyricism and intensely vivid evocative nature of Maylis de Kerangal’s prose, which conjures moods, sensations, and flavors, as well as the exhausting rigor and sometimes violent abuses of kitchen work.
In The Cook, we follow Mauro as he finds his path in life: baking cakes as a child; cooking for his friends as a teenager; a series of studies, jobs, and travels; a failed love affair; a successful business; a virtual nervous breakdown; and—at the end—a rediscovery of his hunger for cooking, his appetite for life.