Three Mini Book Reviews of Authors Apekina, Harris, and Crosley

Here are reviews for three books published last year to catch up on before a busy 2019 year of reading.

The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish, Novel by Katya Apekina

Author Katya Apekina has written an unusual book that spans years and complex characters. It centers on the relationship of two sisters, their mentally ill mother, and distant, self-absorbed father. 

After Edie finds her mother, Marianne, hanging from a rafter, Marianne is put in a hospital to rehabilitate. Edie and her sister, Mae are sent from their home outside New Orleans to live with their estranged father in New York. With differing feelings on the matter, Mae and Edie are quite close, yet the presence of Daniel, their father, opens the door to a history they were not prepared to face. Edie, reluctant and loyal to Marianne wants to return home to resume their old life. Mae, alarmingly similar to Marianne, wants to remain in New York and connect with Daniel. And things get a bit weird.

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Cultural Psyche at the End of the 60's in "The White Album", by Joan Didion - Book Review

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” This has to be one of the great opening lines. As you continue through The White Album, you’ll find many profound lines throughout. Joan Didion’s collection of essays encompasses a ten year period of writing; a supplement to her reporting that is deeply personal and revealing, with keen insights into her own psyche and that of the time. 

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Learning About Myself from "The Odd Woman and the City", by Vivian Gornick - Book Review

There are books I love; that leave their mark. But there are few that are so impactful that I feel the need to reread again and again. I’m not sure what compelled me to select The Odd Woman and the City, as I was not familiar with Vivian Gornick’s work, but I am so happy I did.

Gornick is a New Yorker through and through. She’s lived there all her life and has embraced its darkness, beauty and eccentricities. She has found her own rhythm in a city that hums along with or without you - either you’re on board for an incredible ride or you can’t wait to get off the wheel. In her memoir, which is a series of brief essays, Gornick replays for us conversations she has overheard while walking the streets of New York - some laugh-out-loud funny delivered with quirky banality; though the majority of her essays and musings focuses on her perspective of friendships, lovers and life itself. Gornick is able to dig deep to bring clarity to emotions, and articulate these feelings with such meticulous language I found myself rereading passages just for the enjoyment of the flow. 

I loved this book not only for the clarity of her prose, but for her acute self-awareness and the precision with which I was able to identify with many of the essays. I felt epiphanies throughout; Gornick my analyst as I lay on my own sofa clutching the book and saying, “yes; I see it now!”  Gornick delivers her story with keen observation, often referring to her close relationship with her friend Leonard who helps bring her (and us) to a better understanding of human nature.

Gornick was a journalist with the Village Voice in the 1970’s and has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic and numerous other publications. I’ll be picking up another one of her books soon.

Published: 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Vickie’s rating: 5 stars