If you still have some holiday shopping to do, here are a few of my favorites this year that might make for some very nice gifts:
“Goatsong” by Patricia Damery, il piccolo editions Fisher King Press (November 1, 2012), ISBN-13: 978-1926715766 – A wise view of the world through the eyes of a child, homeless women, a goats.
- From my review: When you read Goatsong, you are breathing in fresh air off the Pacific ocean, smelling the sweet scent of the bay laurel, and cooling your tired feet in sacred streams flowing through old redwoods in the company of wise women who, without agenda, may well change you as they changed the ten-year-old Sophie in those old family stories about the town of Huckleberry on the Russian River.
“In Sunlight and Shadow” by Mark Helprin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2, 2012), 978-0547819235 – A combat veteran whose business is threatened by the mob falls in love with a young woman from a rich and influential family. Readers will discover a poetic view of New York City played off against the Mafia’s protection racket and the protagonist’s combat experiences as a behind-enemy-lines pathfinder.
- From my review: Mark Helprin recalls post World War II New York City throughout In Sunlight and in Shadow with the accuracy and atmosphere of A Winter’s Tale (1983) and his protagonist’s combat experiences with the chilling combat detail of A Soldier of the Great War (1991).
“The Casual Vacancy” by J. K. Rowling, Little, Brown and Company (September 27, 2012), ISBN-13: 9780316228534 – Rowling steps away from teenagers and contemporary fantasy with a story about the people and politics of a small English town.
- From my review: Winesburg, Spoon River, Grover’s Corners and Peyton Place reside so powerfully in the consciousness of readers as accurately rendered representations of small town life that their people, town squares, relationships and secrets are forever in our memory almost crossing the boundary from fiction into reality. The English village of Pagford in J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy belongs on this list.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy novels, including “Sarabande.”