Monday, November 22, 2010

Joyce Carol Oates

This is a collection of sixteen stories by one of my favorite authors that explore how the power of violence, loss, and grief shape both the psyche and the soul. Many of the stories in "Sourland" revolve around the theme of women whose husbands have recently died, which is pretty dark and depressing and made me not really want to keep reading because this is a possibility it will happen ...and will happen one day given a 50-50 chance that I go first. Oates' writing draws on emotion and if recently widowed I would put off reading this one for awhile.
Jose Saramago's
The Cave

Very depressing story about an elderly potter who lives with his daughter Marta and her husband Marçal in a small village on the outskirts of The Center which is a huge complex of shops, apartments, and offices to which the old man delivers his pots and jugs every month in exchange for a small income. On one of these trips, he is told not to make any more deliveries. No explanations. But Cipriano is persistent and unwilling to give up his craft.   He tries his hand at making ceramic dolls which surprisingly The Center places an order for hundreds, and Cipriano and Marta set to work-until the order is cancelled and the three have to move from the village into The Center. When mysterious sounds of digging emerge from beneath their apartment, Cipriano and Marçal investigate, and what they find transforms the family's life. Filled with the depth, humor, and the extraordinary philosophical richness that marks each of Saramago's novels. I highly recommend this book as one of the best I have read in a long while.