In this introduction, Phillips writes of “that most dismal genre”, redemptive memoirs, even as his own novel sounds much like a memoir. He mentions James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” (362.2909 FR) which was originally published as nonfiction. Perhaps all writing is a sort of con job. Authors convince us of their own realities.
There are two main plots: the French battle with the Viet Minh in Vietnam with Americans advising on the sidelines in the 1950s and a love triangle involving an older British journalist, a young American medical aid worker, and a beautiful young Vietnamese woman. The way Greene analyzed the situation in Vietnam at that time and the predictions he made about American involvement and the ultimate outcome were so astute. It makes one rather sad that he wasn’t heeded, but then he was only a novelist, not someone with “real power”. His novelist words remain powerful now though–perhaps more powerful than the words of the politicians of the time.
Publisher info: “The Woman in White” famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his charming friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison….”The Woman in White” is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre called “sensation” that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.
“The Big Year” is not dense with facts, but it is dense with personality. It’s whimsical and made me laugh at times. The reader does learn about birds and birdwatching too, of course. And one of my favorite pieces of information had to do with the phrase “as thin as a rail”–I always thought that referred to the rail part of railroad tracks or to the rail of a rail fence–certainly not to a yellow rail, a bird which “looked as if it had been squished between bricks.”
This riveting story about human trafficking across the world from India to France to the United States overlaps with the story of a lawyer, Thomas Clarke, whose goal has always been to get rich and be a district judge. Forced by unsavory circumstances at his prestigious Washington D.C. law firm to take a pro bono sabbatical in India working with an NGO that targets human traffickers, his conscience is awakened. He learns the fate of 17-year-old Ahalya and her 15-year-old sister Sita, left orphaned and homeless by a tsunami, and makes it his personal mission to rescue them.
The Library’s Mystery Book Discussion Group’s theme this year is War and “Jade Lady Burning” is representing the Korean War. Though it takes place in the 1970s, almost 20 years after the end of the War, the US Military still has a strong presence throughout South Korea and some Koreans look for any opportunity to foster resentment. When a young Korean woman is found brutally murdered in a torched apartment in the redlight district of Seoul, everyone wants to blame her American soldier boyfriend. Military police sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom are assigned to the case and decide the blame may rest elsewhere.