Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano: A Review

A Good Hard Look: A NovelA Good Hard Look: A Novel by Ann Napolitano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This follows the intersecting lives of southern writer, Flannery O'Connor, and a cast of Napolitano's fictional creations. Set in small town Georgia, the novel opens and closes with the riotous cacophony of O'Connor's famous peacocks. In between are the stories of three families. There is a great tragedy about 2/3 of the way through, and then a lengthy (though ultimately satisfying) resolution. The pacing felt a little too languid for me...but it's a book about the south, and so I suppose that's okay.

My only other complaint was that I felt like I didn't get enough of Flannery O'Connor. She was present, of course, throughout the novel, but she wasn't nearly as vivid as I suspect Napolitano meant for her to be. I had difficulty understanding why Melvin found her so compelling that he was willing to risk so much for her companionship. I did, however, find the characterization of Lona to be flawless. Her desire and longing were palpable and painful.  

Above all else, Napolitano's writing is beautiful. If it weren't a library book, I would have marked many, many passages throughout that were simply perfect.

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