So I saw Pan's Labyrinth
with my friend Shax on Tuesday, and I thought it was quite a stunning movie. I can't even really say much about it, I just felt like yes, that's how to be. Or something similarly hokey. Last night I worked hard on my second novel, which is so close to being done but every little last thing seems to take hoooursss, and then I glamorously watched Top Chef
and when I saw the preview for next week I had a real moment of pure GRIEF. How can I bear to wait a whole week?, I thought, and promptly fainted. But when I came to the feeling had passed. I still like Marcel. He's so clear-eyed and pure! And a true nerd. Who raps! Also, I would now very much like to have a hamburger that tastes like meatloaf.
In other news, this article is in Shelf-Awareness
this morn:Handselling Favorite: Lafayette Shines on Rain Village
Linda Grana, manager of the Lafayette Bookstore
, Lafayette, Calif., and the staff have showered attention on a November novel, Rain Village
by Carolyn Turgeon (Unbridled Books, $24.95, 9781932961249), and made it into a store bestseller. Booksellers at the "fairly small" store handsold the title during December and displayed it at the register with a talker that said, "This is sooooo good!" (The staff gift-wrapped copies in advance "knowing they'd sell and to save wrapping time," Grana said.) In three weeks, Lafayette Bookstore sold 55 copies of the Rain Village
, making it the #1 fiction title, tied with Thirteen Moons
by Charles Frazier.
When it rains, it pours: Rain Village
is getting several more boosts at Lafayette. For one, the book has been chosen by several of the store's book clubs (some 160 clubs are registered there). Moroever, after New Year's Day, Grana has a tradition of choosing her personal top pick for the previous year--and promoting it to customers. Out of the 175 books Grana read in 2006, she chose Rain Village.
"We will soon be sending out an e-mail telling customers (who didn't hear of it at Christmas) about this little 'hidden gem' we've found," she stated.Rain Village
is, Grana said, "a compelling coming of age story about a young girl in Kansas. Unhappy with her life on a farm, she befriends a gypsy woman working at the library, who tells her tales of life and love in the circus. When Tessa decides to run away and join the circus as a trapeze artist, she begins a magical and bittersweet journey, to discover herself and the meaning of friends and family.
Also, this is the leetle review from SF Weekly
, and I think the loveliest one I've gotten:Lord of the Ring
By Nirmala Nataraj
We have literary genres for just about everything under the sun (postmodern Westerns, subversive chick lit, sci-fi erotica -- the list goes on), so it makes sense that we devote one to that fading mainstay of Americana, the circus (and its first cousin, the traveling sideshow). It's difficult to appreciate the legacy of the big top, which decades ago graced desolate Dustbowl towns and transformed dead-end stops into stages for the extraordinary. That's why writers like Carolyn Turgeon, who illustrates the obscure terrain of circus folk in her debut novel, Rain Village
, are refreshing additions to the literary scene. The book offers great big heapings of magical realism à la Gabriel García Márquez, as well as beguiling eccentrics that bring to mind the characters of Jeffrey Eugenides. The novel centers on Tessa, a pint-sized misfit in a Midwestern farming town, who befriends a fable-spinning librarian who, in turn, spurs her to become a trapeze artist. Aside from its offbeat interludes with an assortment of oddballs, Rain Village
is a quixotic survival allegory that deftly explores the social mores of early-20th-century America. Whether it's the Great American Circus Novel is for posterity to determine, but at the very least, Rain Village
is a fun read. Sun., Jan. 14, 4:30 p.m., Cody's Books/Stockton
, 2 Stockton (at Ellis) , San Francisco