The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
Claire Keegan’s books are little, quietly epic works of art. Foster is the story of a lonely child sent to live with relatives one summer, not knowing whether she would return home. The love and compassion shown to her on the Irish farm starkly contrast with the child’s family. Keegan’s prose is gorgeous.
Foster by Claire Keegan, (List Price: $20, Grove Press, 9780802160140, November 2022)
Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia
My favorite Julian Barnes books feature an unremarkable protagonist who attempts to decode the words and actions of a different, more complicated character; the author thereby offers insight into his own process of character creation, from the outside in. Elizabeth Finch is the apotheosis of this type of Barnes book. A former student tries to understand the life of a recently deceased scholar who was his teacher and then friend. Along the way, we are treated to a lengthy essay about Julian the Apostate, which perhaps is offered as a key for us to encode the life of Julian the Author. I thought of Julian, and how the centuries had interpreted and reinterpreted him, like a man walking across a stage pursued by different-coloured spotlights… Well, getting our history wrong is part of being a person.
Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes, (List Price: $26, Knopf, 9780593535431, August 2022)
Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St Simons Island, Georgia