Monthly Archives: April 2016

Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

Suzanne Rindell is a doctoral student in American modernist literature at Rice University. Her first novel, THE OTHER TYPIST, published in 2013, has been optioned for film by Fox Searchlight Pictures (produced by and starring Keira Knightly).  THE OTHER TYPIST is a delicious story of Rose Baker, a 1920s police stenographer who records confessions, and Odelie, a new typist in the pool who becomes Rose’s object of fascination.  Full of intrigue, it is a great read and an excellent debut novel.  Rindell, who worked in New York at a literary agency, describes THE OTHER TYPIST as the kind of book she hoped to find in the slush pile.

THREE MARTINI LUNCH is both the novel you hope a literary agency “reader”  will find in the slush pile and a story about the slush pile itself.  A clever combination of three interwoven characters that feels like a book version of Mad Men, this 500 page plus story of the 1950s publishing world in New York is fascinating.  The stories of Cliff, son of a successful book editor and himself an aspiring writer, Eden, who dreams of becoming an editor but faces challenges as a Jewish woman, and Miles, a talented writer from Harlem trying to tell the story of his father, come together to give a vibrant picture of an industry and an era.  Ambition and competition square off against issues of race, gender, sexual orientation.  Friendship and betrayal…plot twists…well worth the read!

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Filed under posted by Meredith

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele

 

A note:  I am the literary fiction, inspiring memoir, occasional gentle mystery book barista.  Dark and twisty, full of suspense and a reasonable amount of gore, police procedural…that is the other book barista.  We both, however, like a good story…

“We tell stories to strangers to ingratiate ourselves, stories to lovers to better adhere us skin to skin, stories in our heads to banish demons.  When we tell the truth, often we are callous.  When we tell lies, often we are kind.  Through it all, we tell stories, and we own an uncanny knack for the task.”

As a lover of Jane Eyre (one of my favorite books ever, read and re-read even with new fiction in my stack), picking up Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (The Gods of Gotham)was a no-brainer.  I won’t go so far as to read Jane Eyre remakes with zombies–that is definitely a line I respect– but, despite how preposterous it sounded,  I was willing to go for Jane the serial murderer.  Turns out, this isn’t a retelling, it is a story about a woman with Jane Eyre like symptoms and plot parallels, from a similar era, with writing that feels Bronte-esque, but that is where the comparison ends.

“Reader, I murdered him.”

Jane Steele is an orphan in unfortunate circumstances: mistreated, unloved as a child, sent away, lied to, abused.  Jane Steele has a fortunate personality:  clever, plucky, determined, a keen sense of justice.  Each time she is wronged, I as reader wished to write a revenge chapter.  No need!  Jane takes care of business herself by murdering her protagonist.  Each murder adds a little to the suspense, because Jane needs to escape suspicion.  Jane isn’t awful, and her motives are more virtuous than her crimes reflect.

I loved the writing, I loved the suspense, I enjoyed the characters.  I loved that names are clues, I loved being transported to Victorian England.  Jane Steele is a satisfying story with a great ending.  What more can I ask for?

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