Welcome back to the Fiction Reboot–Friday Fiction Feature! Today, the irreplaceable research assistant extraordinaire has provided a reader-response list of lit! __________________________________________
Hello all- Tabatha here! This week I’ve decided to put you in the capable hands of the avid readers shouting titles at me (which is to say we’re going off the suggestion list). But have no fear, I have been assured that each book is fascinating and worth a read!
First comes The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another…a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life…and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning…
And because my suggestions rarely come with authors, I also present this wildly different (though no less entertaining) “Secret History” filled with hilariously named spies, national secrets, and (because this is the fiction reboot/daily dose) an adventure that begins with research in The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation #1) by Lauren Willig.
Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard’s Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon’s invasion.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation’s identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?
For another take on, let’s call it expanded history, I’ve got Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. A modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar.
Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein’s Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.
Next up on our eclectic journey through literature is Griffin and Sabine (Griffin & Sabine Trilogy #1) by Nick Bantock. It all started with a mysterious and seemingly innocent postcard, but from that point nothing was to remain the same in the life of Griffin Moss, a quiet, solitary artist living in London. His logical, methodical world was suddenly turned upside down by a strangely exotic woman living on a tropical island thousands of miles away. Who is Sabine? How can she “see” what Griffin is painting when they have never met? Is she a long-lost twin? A clairvoyant? Or a malevolent angel? Are we witnessing the flowering of a magical relationship or a descent into madness?
This stunning visual novel unfolds in a series of postcards and letters, all brilliantly illustrated with whimsical designs, bizarre creatures, and darkly imagined landscapes. Inside the book, Griffin and Sabine’s letters are to be found nestling in their envelopes, permitting the reader to examine the intimate correspondence of these inexplicably linked strangers. This truly innovative novel combines a strangely fascinating story with lush artwork in an altogether original format.
Last but not least is a series I have been (repeatedly) assured is fantastic as book, video game and television show alike: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. (Because it wouldn’t really be the Friday Fiction Feature without at least a passing mention of zombies.)
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.