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‘The Confessions of Frances Godwin’ a story of maturity, by maturity

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The worldwide success of the Harry Potter series has led to a great emphasis on young adult crossover novels in contemporary publishing. For years, teen wizards, warriors, werewolves and vampires have dominated publicity and sales in what seems to be a literary high school. Robert Hellenga’s immensely satisfying seventh novel, The Confessions of Frances Godwin, is, by contrast, an adult book – and by “adult,” I don’t mean tediously pornographic. As in Hellenga’s earlier novels (The Sixteen Pleasures, Philosophy Made Simple, Snakewoman of Little Egypt), the main characters are academics past middle age with a lifetime of experience, accomplishments and regrets. Frances Godwin is a … 0

Despite fumblings, ‘Green Girl’ strives toward optimism

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Long before Lena Dunham and her Girls, writers have wrestled with youth’s peculiar blend of narcissism and self-hatred: the sense that success is just around the corner and that one’s best days are long gone. Early in Hamlet, Polonius tells his daughter, “You speak like a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance.” … 0

‘Blue Mind’ a study of emotional, psychological, physical connections

Sunday, August 17, 2014

As I look up from the pages of this book, there’s nothing between me and the horizon but water. The only sounds are the hypnotic hiss of stones as they are dragged back by waves and the occasional call of a gull. Fresh air gusts over the water’s surface, picking up notes of … 0

American Life in Poetry: Go back to the ’70s in ‘Man on the Run’

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Playing on the title of the 1973 Wings album Band on the Run, the title of Tom Doyle’s biography implies that this portrait of Paul McCartney in the 1970s is of a man fleeing his fame. But the … 0

The Mindful Reader:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Hampshire author J.P. Francis revisits a little-known part of our state’s history in a debut novel, The Major’s Daughter. Collie Brennan has left Smith College to assist her father, who is commanding officer of the WWII POW … 0

Gilmanton portrait: New book explores rich history of ‘Peyton Place’ inspiration

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gilmanton is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,777 at the 2010 census. The town includes the villages of Gilmanton Corner and Gilmanton Ironworks. That’s the Wiki version. Jessica Lander’s version of … 1

‘The Property’ graphically illustrates war’s devastating effects

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In her superb graphic novel The Property, Israeli author Rutu Modan writes of war’s devastating effects from the long view of multiple generations, even drawing upon the experiences of her ancestors in Poland. So it was especially gratifying … 0

‘What We See When We Read’ a small, shallow pond of a book, but ‘Cover’ is worth a look

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Let me get the brickbat out of the way. What We See When We Read is a small, shallow pond of a book in which author Peter Mendelsund exhaustively swims around without ever going very deep. The premise … 0

‘The Invisible Bridge’ goes far beyond political history

Sunday, August 10, 2014

You can learn a lot by reading newspapers, especially if you have helped write them. Frederick Lewis Allen was a journalist of the 1920s who became a book author by taking what he and other journalists had written … 0

‘Red or Dead’ a postmodern epic and ultimate sports novel

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sports novels generally rank low on the literature scoreboard – unless you regard Moby-Dick as a harpooning competition. But Robert Coover, Don DeLillo and David Foster Wallace have shown that it is possible to write ultraliterary, even experimental … 0

‘Price of Inheritance’ has plenty to savor

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Karin Tanabe’s heroine, young Carolyn Everett, wasn’t born grasping a Tiffany rattle, but she grew up in the guesthouse on the grounds of one of the toniest estates in Newport, R.I. After graduating from Princeton, she continues her … 0

‘The Bees’ a parable about consequences of hive mentality

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bees – which is to say, the fear of them – dominated many summers of my childhood. Especially when walking (inevitably barefoot) through a particular Eastern Shore clover patch, I could focus on little else than trying to … 0

An unlikely odyssey and an even more uncommon bond between soldier and translator

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It was off the beaten path that retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Moffett first heard about Fahim Fazli. Moffett, a lifelong New Hampshire resident, was in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province in 2010 on assignment as a field … 0