THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS – “CAMBRIDGE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today I’m spotlighting one of my Vine review books:  Cambridge, by Susanna Kaysen.

I am coming in late today, but I couldn’t resist posting anyway.

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Intro:  It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did.  I fell in love with the city, the way you fall in love with a person, and suffered during the many separations I endured.

In the summer before our October departure for England, the screen door to the backyard broke and had to be replaced.  The new door had a hydraulic canister that hissed when it opened or closed instead of smacking, thump, thump, the way the old door had.  I didn’t like this.  Neither did my cat, Pinch.  Cats and children are conservative.  Pinch would use the new door to go out of the house, but she refused to come in through it, and she’d sit by the front door waiting for someone to notice that she’d decided it was time to come home.  After three weeks in England, I felt the same way:  Okay, let’s go home now.  It’s time to go home.  But my parents, looking out their new, hydraulic door in England, didn’t notice me, and, like Pinch, I had to sit there hoping and hoping.

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Teaser: (In Greece)  My mother was as chic as her cigarettes.  This had happened in Italy, too.  She was a chameleon.  She took on the prevailing look.  (p. 184).

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Blurb:  “It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did . . .”

So begins this novel-from-life by the best-selling author of Girl, Interrupted, an exploration of memory and nostalgia set in the 1950s among the academics and artists of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

London, Florence, Athens: Susanna, the precocious narrator of Cambridge, would rather be home than in any of these places. Uprooted from the streets around Harvard Square, she feels lost and excluded in all the locations to which her father’s career takes the family. She comes home with relief—but soon enough wonders if outsiderness may be her permanent condition.

Written with a sharp eye for the pretensions—and charms—of the intellectual classes, Cambridge captures the mores of an era now past, the ordinary lives of extraordinary people in a singular part of America, and the delights, fears, and longings of childhood.

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What do you think?  Nostalgic?  Do these excerpts bring back memories for you?

ENTER THE INTERIOR FOR INTROS/TEASERS — “GOLDEN STATE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s featured book is Golden State, an ARC by Michelle Richmond.

 

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Intro/Beginning:  Prologue

Tell me a story, he said.

So I told him about my first morning in San Francisco.  It was July, summer in the city, foggy and cold.  I was tired and jet-lagged and had yet to unpack, but I wanted to see the famous California coast.  I took a bus over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael, where I boarded a shuttle to Point Reyes.

Alone, I wandered along the cliffs in the freezing fog, out to the lighthouse.  I stood gazing at the roaring Pacific, a crazy-looking ocean, infinitely more dangerous and dramatic than the Gulf Coast waters I knew so well.  On a small hill above a meadow, I followed a picket fence for several hundred yards, curious where it led.  And then, without warning, the fence abruptly ended.  A narrow ditch split the ground in two; on the other side, the fence continued on its way.

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I had to work sometimes not to become envious of the parents whose children were theirs to keep.  At a play group, a party, an Easter egg hunt—wherever—I would find myself standing beside another mother, who would point to a child and say, “That one’s mine.” (124).

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Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Anna Quindlen, Golden State is a powerful, mesmerizing new novel that explores the intricacies of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.

Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side–no easy task, as the streets of San Francisco have erupted into chaos. Today is the day that Californians vote on whether or not to secede from the United States. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and painful parts of her past–her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.

Infused with emotional depth and poignancy, Golden State takes readers on a journey over the course of a single, unforgettable day–through an extraordinary landscape of love, loss, and hope.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I have loved two other books by this author, so I am eager to begin.

TUESDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: INTROS/TEASERS — THE GARDEN OF LAST DAYS — SEPT. 3

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlighted book is from a talented author I have enjoyed:  Andre Dubus III, with The Garden of Last Days.

 

 

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Intro:  Late Summer – ’01

April drove north on Washington Boulevard in the late-afternoon heat.  She passed housing developments behind acacia and cedar trees, Spanish moss hanging from their limbs like strings of dead spiders.  Between her legs was the black coffee she’d bought at the Mobil station on the way out of town and it was too hot to drink, the sun still shining bright over the Gulf and blinding her from the side like something she should’ve seen coming, like Jean getting laid up and now there’s no one to watch Franny and no calling in sick at the Puma.  And little Franny was strapped in her car seat in the back, tired and happy with no idea how different tonight will be, how strange it could be.

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Teaser:  April’s legs felt heavy, her upper body stiff.  She shouldn’t’ve stopped at all.  Shouldn’t’ve brought Franny.  Should’ve taken her chances and taken the loss and called in sick; now she was moving just to move, to move back into Spring, and there, a few tables ahead, was one of Wendy’s regulars smiling up at her.  (p. 69).

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Amazon Description:  From the author of the New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection House of Sand and Fog–a new big-hearted, painful, page-turning novel.

One early September night in Florida, a stripper brings her daughter to work. April’s usual babysitter is in the hospital, so she decides it’s best to have her three-year-old daughter close by, watching children’s videos in the office, while she works.
Except that April works at the Puma Club for Men. And tonight she has an unusual client, a foreigner both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Lots of it, all cash. His name is Bassam. Meanwhile, another man, AJ, has been thrown out of the club for holding hands with his favorite stripper, and he’s drunk and angry and lonely.

From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, searing, passionate, page-turning narrative, a big-hearted and painful novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity. Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the reader by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus’s #1 bestseller, House of Sand and Fog–and an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.

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I’ve just started reading this one, but I can’t wait to see it all unfold.

What are you sharing today?  Come on by and chat, please.