Neshama’s Choices for October 17th

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The Latecomer

Salo experiences a devastating accident in college; he was the driver; two died. Essentially undone but unscratched on the surface, he marries Johanna.  She desperately wants a family but there are fertility issues. Four eggs are viable, three are implanted (triplets!) and one stays frozen until another bombshell erupts in the family dynamic. Hence the eponymous Phoebe who joins this fractured family 18 years after and serves as the narrator. From the get-go, the triplets want nothing to do with each other and despite a shared education as a very progressive school, go their separate ways as fast as possible. It takes Phoebe to unearth long-hidden family secrets.  A fascinating wrinkle:  Salo’s passion for collecting art. An astonishing novel. I was riveted. 

Hurricane Girl

Alison buys a sweet little cottage on the East Coast. One week later a hurricane decimates it. What now? She keeps trying to comfort herself with the phrase “I’ve got my health” but she’s delusional; instead, she has a hole in her head from a bizarre encounter with a creepy camera man who “befriends” her. And guess who her brain surgeon is? An old high school boy friend. There’s wicked humor shot through this tale of apparent woe—disturbing and intriguing.  

Calling for A Blanket Dance

We get to know Ever (short for Everado, his father’s name) through linked stories that introduce us to the many members of this complex clan—part Cherokee, part Kiowa, part Mexican. There’s a quilt for each but they take a tortuous path to reach their designated person. Oklahoma setting, on and off the Rez. Ever struggles to bring up his kids under dangerous conditions and some go astray. Hokeah sprinkles in native words and phrases without translation which add considerable color.

Florida Woman

Jamie got a plea deal and is now ankle-braceleted and doing time at a very strange refuge in the interior of Florida. A refuge for macaques run by three intense women who believe that the monkeys are their teachers. Jamie finds the women seductive at first, but her suspicions burgeon as tensions start to fray the purportedly sacred nature of their work. The book gave me the shivers. (That’s a positive comment…)