TUESDAY INTROS/TEASERS: RAIN — JULY 10

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Just grab your book and share the opening lines; then find another excerpt that “teases” the reader.

Today’s excerpts are from Rain, by Leigh K. Cunningham.

Winner, Literary Fiction category, 2011 Indie Excellence Awards.
Silver medalist, 2011 Independent Publisher Awards (IPPY), Regional Fiction: Australia/New Zealand.

Set in provincial Australia in the early sixties, Rain is a multigenerational family saga that chronicles the lives of three generations of the Wallin sawmilling dynasty. It explores the often difficult but enduring ties between mothers and daughters, men and women: the sacrifices, compromises, and patterns of emotion that repeat themselves through generations.

In a journey that spans four decades and crosses the globe, Rain is an epic tale of the choices and consequences that comprise one family’s history. By turn dark and amusing, Rain delivers an emotionally charged revelation about love, loss, guilt, self-discovery and redemption. The enduring question of family bonds, escapable or not, divides, conquers, and triumphs.

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Intro:  Maine was a town with immunity from outbreaks of new ways of thinking.  Bohemians had never penetrated its outer limits, nor had the beatniks, and the Hippies would go the same way—around the perimeter.  The Aquarian age that blew through elsewhere releasing seeds that would sprout rebellion and enlightenment, passed over Maine at a great altitude.

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Teaser:  Michael would have slept longer, but the familiar stench of potato cakes had exacerbated his alcohol-induced nausea.  p. 24

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Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are sharing….

1970s ISSUES & CHOICES — A REVIEW

Margaret Reynolds is a NY housewife living the crazy, multi-tasking life of a young mother during the 1970s. Meeting the other mothers in the park, keeping track of the sandbox tots, and trying to remember what life was like before—or what life could be again—Margaret’s mind takes her on fantasy trips. Especially after discovering she is again pregnant.

While trying to sort out this snag in her life, at the same time that her mother is pressuring her to move the family to the suburbs, Margaret’s fantasies take her to Fidel Castro’s Cuba and other inexplicable places that seemingly stand in as a reminder that her own daily life is sort of boring.

I enjoyed this book (by Anne Richardson Roiphe) while I, too, was going through similar experiences. Not living in Manhattan, but feeling stifled by the lonely housewife existence.

When I recently read another book by this author, I was reminded of this movie and ordered it from Amazon. I enjoyed it in a slightly different way. The kind of enjoyment that comes from the vantage point of remembering a past existence and reflecting on it in a somewhat nostalgic fashion.

I am giving Up the Sandbox four stars, mostly for the memories evoked, as well as for Barbra Streisand’s great performance.

AN EVOCATIVE TALE OF AMBITION & BETRAYAL — A REVIEW

They stood poised at the beginning of his promising writing career, forming a circle of friendships that included a group of expatriates living a Bohemian life in Paris; among them were such notables as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and many others.

Ernest Hemingway had met and married Hadley Richardson in Chicago, a woman a few years his senior. He had already launched his writing life, and to finance his writer’s journey, Hemingway worked as a journalist for a time. His burgeoning writing career seemed to exist hand in glove with a hard-drinking and fast-living café life that did not celebrate traditional notions of family and monogamy. In these years, Hadley struggled with jealousy and self-doubt; ultimately, something major would smash their dreams of a lasting love.

A sometimes volatile relationship can still have, at its basis, a deeply abiding friendship, which overrides any great romance or grand passion, although they apparently had their share of those moments.

McLain has created a fictionalized version of factual events, digging deeper beneath the emotional layers of what other writers have chronicled about this first marriage of Ernest Hemingway. He would go on to marry four times in all, and his tragic demise was like the epilogue to a brilliant but captivating journey.

How Hemingway created his novels was also a fascinating exploration into the writer’s life. During his first marriage, he created and published The Sun Also Rises.

Throughout The Paris Wife: A Novel, I found myself wishing that events might turn out differently, that there might be a happy ending after all. What I found most satisfying throughout this story, however, were the playful and loving connections created at a tumultuous phase in the lives of these two, and how these connections would sustain them through some difficult times: bonds that would link them even after the marriage had ended. In a letter to Hadley, Ernest wrote of his admiration for her, and how she was the “best and truest and loveliest person I have ever known.”

Themes of loss, childhood trauma, and poor parental connections formed the foundation for what would unfold for these two, and for Hemingway himself in the years that followed. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this fascinating writer in the early years, with his “first love.” Five stars.