Death of the Black-Haired Girl by Robert Stone, a Review

cover29892-mediumHaving never read any of Robert Stone’s works previously, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started his latest,”Death of the Black-Haired Girl.” The novel tells a story of an affair between a student and her professor at an elite university. Predictably, said professor is married. And thus begins a tale that you can pretty much figure out from the title where things are going to go…. Billed as “an irresistibly compelling tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight,” I felt this novel was too self-important and almost gets in its own way by trying to convey “big ideas” about morality and life.

Not only was the prose overly complex, but the characters were extremely unlikeable. Maybe that was what Stone intended, and again not being familiar with his canon/style, I can’t really weigh in. But for someone like me, who loves stories that you can sink into like a comfy chair, this was more like trying to relax on a concrete bench.

Perhaps not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be yours– I think it would appeal to a certain set of readers, of which I am most certainly not.

Available for pre-order, “Death of the Black-Haired Girl” hits shelves on November 5th.

xo The Book Bird 

Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGallery in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Reunion by Amy Silver, a Review

cover35722-smallGive me an “ensemble” style book that reunites a group of old friends who have been divided by a “terrible” event in the past, and I am SO there. Unfortunately, my passion for these “Secret History” / “Topics in Calamity Physics” style novels, often leads me to be disappointed… such as in the case of Amy Silver’s “The Reunion.”

As a fan of this “genre”, I typically can overlook the predictability of the characters (the rebel, the goody-two-shoes, the creative), and it’s what often draws me to these titles. However, while the group dynamic starts out interestingly, it quickly became too “Circle of Friends” for my likes. Where was the twist?

Silver does a good job of creating alternating narratives and deftly weaves in email correspondence inbetween each chapter, and I think she nicely handles the transitions between past/present. Her writing is good, and the book reads well, except for the extremely predictable plot.

Overall, a nice vacation read but not nearly exciting enough for me. Get this one from the library đŸ™‚

That said, I just realized this book is currently only in print in the UK– more info to come around a US release date!

xo The Book Bird 

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to me via NetGalley for a fair and honest review by the publisher.