Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers and Their Muses

The Bar Harbor Retirement Hone for Famous Writers and Their Muses

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers and Their Muses
By Terri-Lynne DeFino
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062742674, June 2018, 336pp.

The Short of It:

I’m a sucker for stories about writers.

The Rest of It:

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home is home to a group of retired writers and what a group they are! Some have had relationships with one  another, others have collaborated with each other, and some are still collaborating as they live out their final days.

What makes this story entertaining is that there is a story within a story as Alfonse Carducci, writes what could be his final story, and this new work of his is inspired by his caregiver, Cecibel. Cecibel, although much younger than Alfonse cannot help but be smitten with him. As a fan, she finds his work thrilling. There is just something about his charm and wit that hold her captive.

Usually, I am not a fan of the “story within a story” device but in this case, I didn’t mind it. Carducci writes what is essentially a love story and again, not something I’d typically enjoy but I did find myself wanting to know how that story would end.

The ending didn’t go the way I expected it to but all in all, it was an enjoyable read.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Exit West

Exit West

Exit West
By Moshin Hamid
Riverhead Books, 9780735212206, February 2018, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Not at all what I was expecting.

The Rest of It:

When my book club selected this book several months ago at our yearly selection meeting, I was eager to read it because of all the reviews I had read but I skimmed those reviews because I didn’t want to know too much about it.

Well, I have to tell you that the story is very unique. In an unnamed, war-torn country, two people meet. Nadia is more head-strong and determined and Saeed is more soft-spoken and sincere but the two marry and find themselves transported to other countries as they try to escape the current war zone they are in. They move from country to country by going through doors, sometimes guarded, sometimes not.

It took me a little while to realize that they were actually going from country to country by these doors. Yes, it’s very “Narnia” and to be honest, I didn’t love this fantastical element. However, after discussing it with the group, I do understand the author’s choice to use it as a means to convey their immediate situation. It would be difficult to enter into a country and not know the language or to be hated, instantly, upon your arrival. Open the door, step through and immediately find yourselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Given the current state of the country I live in, I feel that the author did a good job of raising our awareness without shoving it down our throats. It hit all of us while discussing the book that the immigration issue is only going to get worse as people flee their countries out of desperation.

In the end, this was not a “fun” or entertaining read but it’s not a dark or depressing read either. The author keeps it somewhat light but it’s definitely a story that stays with you.

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