Sunday, May 31, 2009
by Samantha Hunt
Published February 2008
SAMANTHA HUNT is the author of the acclaimed first novel The Seas, which in 2006 won a National Book Foundation award for writers under thirty-five. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. She lives in New York City.
Louisa, a maid at the Hotel New Yorker, likes to snoop through the rooms as she is cleaning them. As soon as she sees the man in the forbidden room on the 33rd floor, she becomes obsessed with learning more about him and begins sneaking into his room. The man, it turns out, is the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla, who is now quite old and destitute, spends much of his time talking to pigeons and the ghost of Mark Twain. Caught by Tesla almost as soon as she begins, Louis and Tesla form a friendship. Louisa is also dealing with her father, Walter, who is even more obsessed with his late wife, and a former classmate who mysteriously begins appearing everywhere Louisa is. Before the end of the novel, Louisa learns about love, loss and the power of the inventive mind.
I very much enjoyed the parts of this book that dealt with the relationship between Louisa and Tesla and the stories of Tesla's earlier years, as well as Louisa's relationship with her father. I did feel like Hunt tried to pack too much into the book and often found myself skimming over parts of the book to get back to the parts that interested me. The characters are very real, the relationships believable. I just felt like I was reading more than one book at the same time.
Some people drink, some do drugs, some gamble. I buy books. Lots of books. And if I'm not buying them, I'm checking them out from the library. This little problem of mine has gotten so bad that I have set the limit on myself in book stores that I am only allowed to buy things on my list AND I have to check the bargain bins first. You can already see the problem with this limitation, can't you? My list grows on an almost daily basis--hence there is never any end to books I'm "allowed" to buy. What's worse? I have taken to carrying an extremely large purse, a hobo bag really, so that I can sneak books into the house. Isn't that akin to stashing a bottle of vodka in the toilet tank so no one will know when you are drinking?! This weekend's count of books purchased? Six. The count of books finished in the past week? Two. Is there such a thing as "Book Buyers Anonymous?" I think I need a twelve-step program. At least until I make a good sized dent in the piles of books in my bedroom.....
Posted by Lisa at 3:11 PM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A few months ago, I had really never read a blog. Then a friend started one to keep track of our book club. Since then I've become a little obsessed with reading blogs. Recently I began thinking "that looks like fun; maybe I should try it." Followed immediately by "what the heck would I write about?" But it's been the little devil on my shoulder saying "do it, do it." So here we go. Today the set up...tomorrow I'll trying adding some book reviews. Baby steps as Richard Dreyfus' book says in "What About Bob?"
Posted by Lisa at 9:23 PM