The New Yorker has just published a new short story by one of my favorite people writing today, Haruki Murakami. It’s a fascinating little tale about Gregor Samsa, the character from Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and what it might be like if he were to spontaneously return to human form. Pasting the entire story below would be rather odd, so I’ll just share the link below. My recommendation – go read it right now.
On a totally unrelated note, I hope to resume more regular posting again next week, and near the top of my “to post” list will be a little post to help people catch up on what’s been going on in my life lately. Things have been quite crazy, in fact!
I don’t know C. Hope Clark personally – I’ve never had much correspondence with her or met her in person. But I have, for several years now, received her emails “Funds for Writers,” which I highly recommend for any aspiring author. The emails contain advice, inspiring stories, announcements of various literary competitions, and also a listing of some publications that are looking for submissions of various sorts. With all the work Mrs. Clark has done helping other writers, I’ve wanted to read her own work for some time now, and I finally have.
Last night I finished Tidewater Murder: A Carolina Slade Mystery, which is her second book in the Carolina Slade mystery series. Unfortunately, I have not yet read the first book of the series, Lowcountry Bribe, but that didn’t interfere with my ability to read, understand, and enjoy Tidewater Murder. And I will happily say that I truly enjoyed reading this novel. I don’t read a lot of contemporary novels, and almost never mysteries, so Tidewater Murder took me entirely by surprise.
From page #1, this book has what it takes to grab the reader. How often do you find both assonance and alliteration on the 1st page of a prose text? And I loved it! Not only is Mrs. Clark able to tell a good story, but she also understands how to use words. We have a glut of popular books right now which contain wonderful stories but are horribly written – this book actually combines the good story and the good writing. I’m a bit snotty when it comes to good writing, but I enjoyed Mrs. Clark’s prose immensely. She puts together wonderful sentences, and even engages our mind a bit more with use of real vocabulary. Tidewater Murder takes some thinking to read, and I’m also quite fond of that. A final writing note – unlike many modern/post-modern writers, Mrs. Clark has no fear of adjectives and adverbs, which was another welcome breathe of something new.
And now, to the story – Tidewater Murder is a great story. There’s plenty of action and suspense, and you definitely care about the characters and where the story might take them. I really liked Slade, the main character. She’s well developed, layered, complex and very interesting/unique; a superior quality female protagonist. Slade works as a federal agricultural investigator, and Mrs. Clark’s background in agriculture shines through in these scenes. Slade is a bit risky, a bit crazy, a bit stubborn, and even a bit unbelievable at time…but what good protagonist isn’t? That’s why they call the experience of reading a “temporary suspension of disbelief.”
All in all, I highly recommend this novel for a nice weekend read – ‘light’ reading, in a sense, perhaps, but very well written, enjoyable, and interesting as well. I look forward to reading more from C. Hope Clark in the near future!