Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: After the Parade

After the Parade

After the Parade
By Lori Ostlund
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476790107, September 22, 2015, 352pp.

The Short of It:

With pain, comes growth.

The Rest of It:

As a young child, Aaron Englund had no idea how his father’s death after a fall from a parade float would affect him in the years to come but when his adult relationship with his beloved Walter ends, he’s forced to take a look at his past.

After the Parade is exactly what I look for in a good read. It’s a quiet story with interesting, quirky characters and unusual situations. When Aaron realizes that he can no longer maintain a relationship with Walter, he moves out and meets a host of people who, although flawed, serve a purpose in his healing.

This is truly a book about relationships. Mother and son, father and son, colleague to colleague, innocent bystanders, etc. I loved how open Aaron was to all of it. He’s a sensible guy and takes his hits as they come but he learns from them too which makes him so relatable. This book is filled with quite “aha” moments. I found myself rereading sections just to let the ideas sink in.

If you are like me and like quiet, meaningful reads then you will enjoy this one. It will be on my list of faves for the year because to me, this was the full package as far as reads go.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter
By Stephanie Danler
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9781101875940, May 2016, 368pp.

The Short of It:

An apt title for a story that pushes you away as much as it pulls you in.

The Rest of It:

Youth. Remember it? Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve felt that elusive, fleeting happiness that percolates ever so gently when it comes to love. Well, this story captures it beautifully.

New York City is the backdrop for this novel and it’s dizzying in its perfection. Even with the bug infestations and the rats running through the street, Tess finds it to be magical in its own way.

“It’s ludicrous for anyone to live here,” she thinks, at the same time, she thinks, “I can never leave.” ~Sweetbitter

Tess moves to the city with the hopes to reinvent herself. In her twenties, it’s as if the world is there for the taking so when she lands a job at a well-known restaurant, she quickly falls into the routine of the place which includes many players, much drama and Jake, the bartender she’s completely obsessed with.

Tess is a work-in-progress. She’s green when it comes to love and war and she takes a beating both professionally and personally. Her eagerness to learn and her willingness to take it all in makes her vulnerable and somewhat innocent. Often times I found myself wanting to shake her a little but as I approached the final pages, I realized just how masterful the writing was.

There’s so much to love about this book. There’s food and wine and plenty of flawed, interesting people and Danler absolutely nailed the restaurant industry. I suppose it’s a coming-of-age story but it’s sophisticated, gritty and brutal in its honesty. I highly recommend it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.