Ken joined Quail Ridge just in time for the holiday rush in 2016 - and he even stayed.
Winner of the 1982 World Fantasy Award, John Crowley's Little, Big is, as many have noted, the greatest example of magical realism ever written by an American author and simply one of the greatest novels of all time. Moving between the odd country house of Edgewood and the city (New York by allusion and implication) and covering a century or more from the early 1900s to a vaguely delineated dystopian future United States, Little Big is the saga of the fortunes of the Drinkwater family and their dealings with the obscure and infinite realm of Faerie. The novel focuses mainly on Smoky Barnable's and his son Auberon's puzzled interactions with their other family members who know and believe in something they cannot. Variously hilarious and poignant, and told with a mastery of English that is the epitome of eloquence and elegance, Little, Big is a story of family, of love of all sorts, of the power of women and of the Tale we are all part of. "The further in you go, the bigger it gets." Read and find out.
In his new novel The Moon and the Other, set in the near future on the moon, John Kessel again demonstrates his visionary and compassionate eye. Through a lens of gender roles as they play out in the political clash of a matriarchy -- The Society of Cousins, and a patriarchy-- Persepolis, and in the lives of several of their citizens, Kessel explores human desire, expectation, emotion and alienation. Pointedly, too, Kessel gives keen insights into how technology and coercion, in one form or another, affect our existence.
One of the things I like about Margaret Atwood is that she pulls no punches in her story telling and Oryx and Crake, her 2003 novel, the first in the MaddAddam trilogy, is no exception. In this work of speculative fiction (the author's own designation), Atwood examines many of the issues that trouble world -- genetic engineering, the internet, violence against women, overpopulation to name a few -- in the story of Snowman, a man with a mission sojourning in a post apocalyptic world. Snowman (aka Jimmy in his pre-apocalypse life, the ailing guardian, more or less, of the Crakers, a genetically engineered humanoid species) is nearing starvation and must travel to a now deserted genetic research facility to find supplies. As readers follow Snowman on his quest across a shattered landscape and through his encounters with various genetically altered other animals and a series flashbacks involving his former life with his best friend Glenn, the "mad scientist"who precipitates the apocalypse, and the mysterious and beautiful woman they both love known only as Oryx, they learn of his world as it is and how it came to be. As always, Atwood's writing is crisp and engaging; she creates unforgettable characters in an unforgiving world.