As evidenced in her novel, Little Deaths, author Emma Flint is an aficionado of true crime. These books that chronicle the grim details of actual murders are written with a sensitive ear to readers' morbid curiosity about sensational crimes. The genre has been popular for centuries people have long been willing to shell out cash to indulge the guilty pleasure of peeping into man's oldest and most heinous practice murder.
Many great novels start with a premise, which mirrors or takes inspiration from something in real life. In Greer Macallister's Girl in Disguise, the inspiration is the real-life Kate Warne, the first female private detective who began her career with Pinkerton's in 1856. Learning about her made me wonder which came first did the concept of creating a woman detective rise from some writer's fertile imagination, or was Warne the inspiration for the first fictional female sleuth?
Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World, the subject of A Piece of the World, was initially met with little fanfare, and its critical reception was lackluster. Nevertheless, the painting, which features Christina Olson reaching toward her home in the distance, was purchased during its first showing at a New York Gallery in 1948 by Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Today it is one of MoMA's most admired exhibits and has become a well-known representation of American art. The painting has been loaned out only once since its purchase when it was shown for two days in 2009 at Chadds Ford, PA, Wyeth's hometown, in memoriam of the artist.
Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star is an example of a circadian novel where the main action (except flashbacks, for instance) takes place all on one day. The most celebrated example is James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), set in 1904 Dublin on what has come to be known as "Bloomsday," June 16th. The protagonist, Leopold Bloom, mostly wanders the streets of his city: attending a funeral, arguing in a pub, and so on. The Sixteenth of June (2014) by Maya Lang recreates the format of Ulysses in a near-contemporary story set in Philadelphia.
Mary Miller's Always Happy Hour is set in the south, but many will see it as something other than true southern fiction. The protagonists are too internalized, too walled off from the southerness the land, the people, the ethos of pride, racial discord, and defeat that is the beating heart of most great southern fiction; that is to say the forces that drive everything from regional pride to politics to art. More typical southern writers touch on some if not all of those forces, and create such
Each time BookBrowse reviews a book we also go "beyond the book" to explore a related topic. Here is a recommended reading list of 10 epistolary novels - that is to say books written in the form of letters or journal entries - which we wrote to support our review of Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey:
Epistolary novels are not new Bram Stoker's Dracula, for example, was published in 1879, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein even earlier, in 1818. The form, which is not limited to letters, (nor to horror novels!) also includes journal entries, newspaper clippings, emails, and other forms of correspondence. Perhaps its appeal lies in its inherent hush-hush nature: the main character seems to share a secret with the reader, something meant for his or her own eyes, or one other beloved's eyes. The reader feels lucky to be included in the communication. Whatever the reason, the epistolary novel continues to be written, and enjoyed. Iona Grey's debut novel, Letters to the Lost, is one such novel. Here are 10 others. It is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but a good place to begin investigating this intriguing form.