Shiskin is considered that country’s greatest living novelist. The Light and the Dark may not be as long as some of the Russian classics, but it is as large in its scope. It’s by turns engaging, confusing and erudite.
“I can pinpoint the very moment it all started to change, when the calm broke: when news that twelve-year-old Emanuel Jaques had disappeared spread through our neighborhood in the whispered prayers of women returning from Mass.”
Double Negative, Ivan Vladislavic’s fourth novel, accounts for chunks of time in the life of Neville Lister, an anti-war, anti-apartheid, consummate college dropout living with his parents in '80s Johannesburg.
My snootiness was in full flower as I drove to the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho. I was on my way to a panel discussion featuring three New Mexico-based romance writers: Celeste Bradley, Doranna Durgin and Alice Duncan. It didn’t help that I was stressing out about being late to something I’d already decided wouldn’t teach me anything. They’re not for serious people, I thought. They aren’t real books. I pulled into the parking lot and hurried into the building. Although full of preconceptions, I secretly harbored a small flame of hope that someone would redeem the genre for me.