In the Stacks: Fiction features fantasy, tragedy, and several versions of the truth

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2004

Here's a taste of the new fiction coming out this week at the Juneau Public Libraries.

"Tunneling" by Beth Bosworth. Twelve year-old Rachel is a bookworm of the highest order, reading everything she can get her hands on. No wonder, then, that S-Man, the superhero of writers, has chosen her to aid him in his quest to eradicate writers' block in this wildly inventive tale. The two of them travel through time to help such worthies as Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Chinua Achebe, among others, even as Rachel's real-world life is rocked by the uncertainty of the turbulent sixties and a parental divorce looming on the horizon.

"The Girl who Played Go" by Shan Sa. Alternating chapters told in first person allow readers to step into the tragic lives of the unnamed characters. Set in Manchuria in the thirties, it is the story of a 16 year-old girl who dominates the game of go in her village, and a Japanese soldier sent to occupy the area. Homesick and questioning the war, the soldier becomes obsessed by the girl, who is in turn anxious for a new life.

"Waking Samuel" by Daniel Coyle. An unidentified young man is brought, comatose and suffering from a suicide-gone-wrong bullet, into the hospital where Sara works as a nurse. Preoccupied with her own recent loss, she at first cares for him mechanically, but when he awakens and begins to tell her mysterious and disjointed tidbits of his life, she reciprocates by telling him about her son's death. Their bond deepens, even as her bond with her husband seems about to break.

"Dear Mrs. Lindbergh" by Kathleen Hughes. Margaret and her brother John, both adults with their own families, are stunned to hear that their parents have disappeared. Police investigations turn up nothing, and the siblings begin to wonder if things they took for granted in their lives were really clues: their mother's correspondence with Anne Morrow Lindbergh and recent flying lessons at a local airport, their father's career as an Air Mail pilot in the twenties. And, gradually, Margaret and John realize that their parents planned their disappearance... but where are they now?

"Truth" by Jacqueline Sheehan. Sojourner Truth "rode to earth on the backside of a comet," according to her mother in this novelization of the great abolitionist's life. Before she was Sojourner, she was Isabella and spoke only Dutch. Then she was Bell, and punished for not speaking English. Kept from marrying the man she loved, married to another slave on the property, and finally running away from her master when her children were old enough to care for themselves, Sojourner inched closer and closer to becoming an advocate for freedom and a symbol of perseverance.

"Walking into the Night" by Olaf Olafsson. The haunting story of a man who reinvented himself, attempting to forget his past lives. Christian is William Randolph Hearst's butler, and like the Chief himself, is happy to live in the cocoon of the San Simeon estate. But increasingly woven into the day-to-day details of running a grand house are the memories of the wife and children he left in Iceland and the New York actress he left them for, until, after 20 years, the dam breaks and Christian is sent reeling back to Iceland.

"The True Account" by Howard Frank Mosher. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Mosher has written a marvelously funny parody of the trip. Purportedly a lost manuscript, written by teenage Ticonderoga Kinneson, it chronicles the parallel journey made by Ti and his nutty uncle, Private True Teague Kinneson, America's answer to Don Quixote. If you want the facts behind the expedition, read "The Lewis and Clark Journals;" "True" is just for fun.

Author Alert! Pam Flowers, the first woman and American to solo the route of the Rasmussen expedition from Barrow in Alaska to Repulse Bay in Canada, is coming to the Douglas Library on Saturday the 17th at 4 pm. Come hear about her journey, her dogs, and her life at this family program! Copies of her books, "Alone Across the Arctic," and "Big-Enough Anna," will be available to buy and have signed.

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