Multi-generational novel both epic and intimate

The power of family is a constantly explored theme in the literary world. Telling stories that span generations has long been a favorite undertaking for novelists great and small; Maine resident Peter Behrens is one of those who falls more into the former category. His latest offering is 'The O'Briens' (Pantheon; $25.95), a story that springs from but is no way reliant on his previous work 'The Law of Dreams.'

Our book begins with the O'Brien family struggling their way through a hardscrabble existence in the wilds of western Quebec right around the turn of the 20th century. We watch as young Joe O'Brien comes of age the hard way, slowly and steadily building himself an entrepreneurial empire.

Of course, life is about more than just monetary success. We also watch as Joe builds a family of his own, a family he swears will never have to endure the same hardships that dominated his own youth. However, life is rarely as easy as we feel it should be, and Joe and his family are confronted with an entirely new set of obstacles to their happiness different, yes, but no less difficult because of that.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:01

Fated' a fine urban fantasy

Urban fantasy is a genre whose star has been on the rise over the past decade or so. More and more authors are trying their hand at bringing the magic of sword-and-sorcery to a modern cityscape. Some are successful, but many more are not it's hard to write urban fantasy without coming off as derivative or clichd. I've read a lot of mediocre stuff over the years.

That's why it's exciting when a new book arrives that seems to have potential. 'Fated' (ACE, $7.99), the first book in a new series by Benedict Jacka, is one of those books.

It's modern-day London, just like ours save one small detail there is magic among us. Alex Verus is a diviner; a mage who can see the future. He operates a magic shop in London and not the card-trick, rabbit-hat kind of magic. He's also a bit of a pariah among the magical elite due to some unpleasantness in the past, so he tries his best to just keep his head down and stay out of magic's way.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 11:12

'Damned' a Hell of a good time

New Palahniuk book offers a different kind of afterlife

'Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison.'

So begins 'Damned' (Doubleday; $24.95), the latest offering from best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk. And just like that, we're whisked away into a world that is part young adult novel, part John Hughes movieand complete Hell.

As in literal Hell. The place bad people go when they die? Yeah. That one. Only here, it is viewed through the cracked and chaotic lens of Palahniuk's hyperkinetic and warped sensibility. You've never seen the afterlife presented quite like this.

Published in Buzz
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