Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Shadow Revurb ( = revurb)


Click to order a signed copy($23.99)
 from The Poisoned Pen 

 Megan Abbott's new book is quite a departure from her previous four novels.  Her first three novels, "Die a Little", "The Song is You", and "Queenpin" were much praisedstories told in the Hollywood 40's and 50's noir tradition.  They stand out from the genre in their detailed depiction of the lead characters, their sense of time and place, and in the way she uses the language of the day. The fact that they are told from a woman's point of view only enhances their unique voice. In her fourth novel, "Bury Me Deep", Abbott fictionalizes the famous Winnie Ruth Judd case and in so doing retrieves the feel of Phoenix in the 1930's in an enthralling and compelling manner.  All four of these beautifully realized books are available and are must reading for any fan of Chandler, Cain, or classic film noir.
 In her new book (Due on July 7, 2011), Abbott moves to a contemporary setting.  The novels action takes place in a midwestern suburb but carries us to the farthest shores of the human heart.  Megan Abbott's brilliant control over her material is breath-taking.  This is writing of the highest order:  Not a word out of place, not a word unnecessary.  In this book she goes way beyond her neo-noir roots and brings forth an American masterpiece.  Her thirteen year old protagonist, Lizzie Hood, speaks to us with a voice so authentic its precociousness and vulnerability shine like a beacon.  When Lizzie's best friend, Evie Verver, goes missing she takes it upon herself to solve the mystery.  The events that ensue take us into the molten core of the American nuclear family in the 21st century.

Megan Abbott visits The Poisoned Pen
July 19th at 7pm. See event here
    As with all great writing the levels of sub-text reveal themselves slowly.  As a mystery the book is a tight, fast moving grabber; It will not let go and it is hard to put down. However this is but a framework upon which Abbott explores, in the most subtle of fashions, the yearning to belong and to be loved.  She shows us how fine the line is between proper parental love, sibling rivalry, and our deepest desires and the consequences when these emotions boil out of control.

    With each new book Megan Abbott's skill and talent have grown.  In "The End of Everything", she takes herself to the top of modern American literature.This is as close to a perfect book as I have read this year.  Poisoned Pen will have signed copies when it comes out.  Buy it. 
     For another view of a similar subject told in a vastly different but very effective way, I suggest Laura Lippman's "Every Secret Thing".

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed all of her books thus far and am really looking forward to seeing her on the 19th.