Stumbling Onto Something Wonderful

Have you discovered the pleasures of our library's electronic book collection yet? You never need to be stuck at home with nothing to read as long as you can download books to your device. Sometimes I am patient enough to place an e-book title "on hold," but when I want a book right away on my tablet computer (because I am stuck at home with nothing to read), I browse through the titles that are "available now."  This has led me to some books I might not have found otherwise.

This month I found an masterfully written book: Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick.  He also wrote A Reliable Wife, which was on bestseller lists a few years ago, so obviously I'm not the first to be drawn to his writing style. I'd describe it as evocative, poetic, reminiscent of William Faulkner or Raymond Chandler.  Like much of Faulkner, the tale is set in the South: in Brownsville, Virginia, a  town where "no crime had ever been committed." The narrator looks back on disturbing events that took place sixty years before, in the summer of 1948. Like Chandler, there is a "noir-ish" sense of foreboding, as Charlie, the new town butcher (who has a set of very sharp knives), falls for Sylvan, the pretty young wife of the richest man in town.

The doomed love affair is set against a vivid cast of small town characters and details of that time and place. One of the most memorable characters is Claudie, the town's black seamstress, who shares Sylvan's obsession with Hollywood fashion and has the talent to recreate it. And throughout, there is the distinctive voice of Sam, the narrator who was a child witness forever changed by what he saw.

I can't wait to see what other books I discover by trying what is "available." Have you stumbled across any wonderful reads lately? Share them in the comments below.

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