The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses), by Terri-Lynne DeFino

Having read fantasy and romance from DeFino, I wondered how a straight up fiction novel of hers would be. I know that DeFino dislikes being pigeon holed into genres since she sees so many books falling into more than one. Which is exactly the case with The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers. In fact, her straight up fiction book has both romance and fantasy neatly inserted within its pages.

Set in, yes, (you guessed it), Bar Harbor at, yes, (you’re right again), a retirement home for aging writers, DeFino quickly introduces a cast of diverse and thoroughly developed characters. Of the writers, there is Alfonse, a sort of elderly Dos Equis man, the most famous of the authors. Then, there is Olivia, his ex-lover and quick-witted marijuana smoker; Judi, the group stenographer who laments the realization of her increasing dementia, and Switch, the taciturn, good hearted spoil sport. On the employee side, there is Dr. Kintz, kind and flustered, as he tries to manage these aging autocrats as well as his trove of damaged employees. And, Cecibel, the physically marred orderly who becomes Alfonse’s muse; Sal, the massive black nurse who moonlights as Wispy Flicker, the drag queen; and, Fin, the convicted murderer. Yep, I have that right.

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Offbeat and Fun with “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits”, by David Wong - Book Review

This has to be the strangest and one of the most fun books I’ve read. And I would never had picked it up had it not been for a youngin’ at work. He was describing the morbidly funny t.v. shows and books he’s into. None sound appealing, but he was pretty passionate about David Wong. I think I probably wanted to be in with the cool kids. Just a little. I bought it, then it sat around for a long time. Okay, finally picked it up. And am so glad I did. 

“Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” takes place, as the title gives away, sometime in the future. There are references to today’s political landscape that help shape it. There are self driving cars (manual is illegal), video screens everywhere, and bizarre superpowers.  We still have stores like Lane Bryant (I didn’t even think they were around today) and television like National Geographic. Our tale takes place primarily in Tabula Ra$a. Yep, that’s a dollar sign instead of the “s”, which is a clear indication of the city’s decadence. 

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