When I was initially planning this post, I was only going to review only The Things They Carried, but after reading In the Lake of the Woods, I think they go together thematically and both share a focus on war and the aftermath of it. And so I’ll discuss both here.
All three novels revolve around two brothers, Claus and Lucas. They are twins. Perfect reflections of one another. In The Notebook, they are abandoned at their grandmother’s during a brutal war (presumably World War II) in their country (presumably in Europe) and, using a notebook, they practice hardening themselves against outside threats and internal ones as well.
All Quiet on the Western Front is given from the perspective of the losing side, which is still rare when it comes to war literature, especially in translation and from this era.
Graves has the unique perspective of being in the middle and a bridge between the command that used soldiers as canon fodder and didn’t fight, and those that were the fodder and lost their lives so meaninglessly.
Wharton explores eerie presences and does so with a flare that lingers in the air over your shoulder as you read. Her prose is elegant and languid, drawing the reader in with lush descriptions and then twisting each tale to a disturbing and artful ending.
This drama is a great example of the power of monologue. If you come from a place of studying prose literature, your urge is to cringe when you turn the page in the play and come across a big block of text. But, actually, a monologue is a blessing rather than a curse.
Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a classic and compelling play centering around one poor Black family struggling to get ahead in 1950s Chicago.
What Kushner excels at is creating a sense of endings and of a grief that hangs above each of the characters as they accept illness, accept death, and accept that change is coming whether they want it to or not.
It’s the subtlety that I described above that really makes this book a great selection to the spooky season — especially if you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path.
The eleven tales contained in this collection of some of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s stories each contain a pervasive sense of the uncanny and of a narrator that exists out of step with time and space.