Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I only have a few--but one of my closest friends with whom I went to college is a writer. Her debut novel, Locke 1928, came out this summer. I had the privilege to read her book long before it was snatched up by an agent. Here's my proud review:
What a way to debut! Locke 1928 is like picked browning of a worthy, juicy scab. Locke, the town, is no longer quiet or meek. This novel has put life back into an otherwise humble region of Chinese history in America. Characters in Locke 1928 are various but juxtapose each other brilliantly so that they are specific, full of intent, and individual! The book is written with such vision and craft: “Richard throws himself on top of her, yanks her head toward him and, not knowing quite what else to do, bites her neck…When he tastes blood, the whirlwind of all the minutes, the blankness of his mind, clears. He releases her. The poison subsides. He moves to the end of the bed, coughing. Everything’s been released in the press of teeth on tendons. A circle of bloody teeth marks starts to bruise on Chloe’s neck” (144). The language goes on with such skill and ease, “Below this, heightened by Poppy’s senses, it’s the smell of the dead stealing from the living—the way a decaying corpse can poison a river or a house” (147). Written in a Morrisonian vein, readers will marvel at the young author’s own stylistic build as there are chapters written in second person, “Under the bed was your suitcase. Made of battered paperboard covered in pig leather, it had lain under every bed you had slept in since your arrival in America” (101). It is beautiful openings like this and closings at each chapter that keep readers lulled by the story and the place. Even the setting in Locke 1928 is its own character. Perhaps the most intriguing female in the story is Ming Wai who is blue, beautiful, a smelly sea-like creature with a motive. Ms. Ryan invents this character with such skill that readers will want to follow her movement to the end…and beyond. More of the best to this young, well deserving, gifted author who is only just beginning. With a book written like Locke 1928, one can only anticipate and imagine what’s up Ms. Ryan’s artistic sleeve for future projects. An entertaining, brilliant read--A job very well done!
If you don't already own this book, you must get it. And be prepared for a little history, a little raunch, gorgeous images, and a great story!