Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Finds

Fugue State by By Brian Evenson

From Publishers Weekly

Evenson accesses dark, unusual facets of human frailty, powerlessness and fear in this collection, haunted by themes of amnesia, aphasia and creeping infirmity. Hecker, the protagonist of O'Henry Prize–winner Mudder Tongue, can't control which words he says and is incapable of expressing even the nature of the problem to his daughter, who thinks he just needs to get out more. A similar terror informs the title story, in which a plague of amnesia afflicts the area where Arnaud lives. The stricken forget their own names, bleed from the eyes and mouth, then lapse into unconsciousness and death. Arnaud catches the illness, and as he makes his way through a landscape of quarantined apartments, looters and corpses, he interacts with the dead and soon-to-be-dead in an effort to try to remember what he is trying to accomplish. Other ailments make cameos—blindness in Helpful, insomnia in Dread—and the thematic anxiety is heightened by graphic novelist Sally's foreboding black and white line illustrations. This intense, nightmarish collection captures the fear of night terrors, when one wakes in the middle of the night, unable to move.



The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

From Publishers Weekly

Ackerman tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Using Antonina's diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising and also describes the Poles' revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. She introduces us to such varied figures as Lutz Heck, the duplicitous head of the Berlin zoo; Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, spiritual head of the ghetto; and the leaders of Zegota, the Polish organization that rescued Jews. Ackerman reveals other rescuers, like Dr. Mada Walter, who helped many Jews pass, giving lessons on how to appear Aryan and not attract notice. Ackerman's writing is viscerally evocative, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area: ...the sky broke open and whistling fire hurtled down, cages exploded, moats rained upward, iron bars squealed as they wrenched apart.

12 comments:

Veens said...

Great finds :)

Mary said...

They both sound good!

bermudaonion said...

I want to read The Zookeeper's Wife too!

Missy said...

Really good finds! I am interested in both!

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

The Zookeeper's Wife has me interested.

Stephanie said...

Both of these sound amazing! I have never heard of Fugue States before.

purplg8r said...

I read The Zookeepers Wife a while back...I hope you enjoy it!

Stacy said...

The Zookeeper's Wife Looks good to me.

Bryan R. Terry said...

Ooo, Zookeeper's Wife is going on my ever-growing TBR list.

My Finds are HERE

Alyce said...

I read The Zookeeper's Wife a few years ago (before blogging) and liked it. Since blogging I have seen mixed reviews of it though, and wonder if I would still like it as much now.

Basant Singh said...

'Zookeeper's Wife' sounds interesting!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I just finished listening to The Zookeeper's Wife on audio book and I really loved it. I thought the story was compelling, and the author did a great job illustrating characters from all the historical information she had. I hope you get a chance to read it!