Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: Last Night in Twisted River

Last Night in Twisted RiverLast Night in Twisted River
By John Irving
Random House
June 2010
592pp

The Short of It:

Unforgettable characters and a truly unique story are something reader’s expect from an Irving novel. Last Night in Twisted River delivers on both counts.

The Rest of It:

The story begins in a New Hampshire logging camp in 1954. Twelve-year-old Daniel accidentally kills the local constable’s girlfriend, which forces him and his father to flee town. As fugitives, they move from place to place, making friends along the way.

Told over the course of five decades, Last Night in Twisted River is many things. It’s definitely a story about a father and a son, but it’s also very much a story about friendship. In this novel, friendships remain true and loyalties prevail.

I fell in love with many of the characters in this novel. Dominic could not love his son more. The passages where he reflects upon Daniel literally caused my heart to ache. Some may argue that Dominic’s decision to flee does more harm than good, but when it comes to the protection of your child, people often make rash decisions. I didn’t hold it against him.

Oh, and Daniel!. He’s flawed in many ways. He seems to pick all the wrong women and has a tendency to drink too much, but the love that he holds for his father is enough to make you love him. He’s cautious, until he’s not. Which is sort of an ongoing theme throughout the novel. He grows up to be a writer and it’s through his writing that we get to know the real Daniel.

My favorite character of all though is Ketchum. Ketchum is their logging friend who remains a constant source of support for them. Although he is my favorite, I’ll let you experience him for yourself when you pick-up the book.

I do have this to say about Irving’s depiction of women… I’m not sure if he loves them or hates them! In this novel, the women are very bold, surly types. Most have questionable manners and lack good hygiene, yet they are quite important within the story itself. I enjoyed them, because although they lacked social graces and often, common sense, they were endearing in some way.

I love how Irving is able to walk a reader through a story. He takes your hand, and glides you through the chapters as if you’re a character in the story. I don’t believe there was ever a moment where I felt lost. His voice comes through so clearly. It’s one of the things that I love about Irving’s writing.

Last Night in Twisted River is a bit long, but well worth the effort. It will be on my fave list for 2010 and will probably be a favorite of mine for a long time to come. There aren’t many books that you want to reread right after finishing. That’s how I felt about this one.

Source: Purchased

Indie Lit Awards – The Short Lists!

The Indie Lit Awards

The short lists have been determined for The Independent Literary Awards. As you may recall, I am a judge for the Lit Fiction panel. It took three tie-breakers to come up with our short list but I am loving the Lit Fiction list that you all came up with. Thank you for taking the time to nominate a book. Now, on to the important stuff… the lists!

2010 Shortlist for GLBTQ

  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  • Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Krakow Melt by Daniel Allen Cox
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
  • Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

2010 Short List for Literary Fiction (isn’t this a great list?)

  • C by Tom McCarthy
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye

The 2010 Short List for Non-Fiction

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
2010 Shortlist for Speculative Fiction
  • Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  • Kraken by China Mieville
  • Dante’s Journey by JC Marino
  • How to Live Safely in a SF Universe by Yu
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin

I downloaded all of the lit fiction books to my Kindle and will be reading them through the end of January. This is in addition to the reading list that I already had in place, so I must get cracking. We’re hoping to have a winner by February 1, 2011.

So, if you’re looking for something to read, why not pick up one of these titles?