Saturday, August 08, 2015

Books: Memories, Time, the Supernatural

It suddenly occurred to  me that the three books I have read recently had the following themes; memories and time plus the supernatural as a subtheme. I read two of the books for the book club, Leaving Time by Jodie Picoult and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The other book, Slave Time: Midnight was a gift from the writer, Howard Potts. Really, it's just a coincidence that they all had similar themes and I read them one after the other.

Leaving Time was about Jenna recalling childhood memories and what happened to her mother.  Also included in the story was the incredible memory of elephants. And one character just happened to be a psychic. A good portion of Slave Time was about Old Sam's childhood memories of slavery and the stories told to him as a child.  Some of the stories were about his experiences as a young adult and included a meeting with a voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Madame Laveau.

I just finished reading Ocean at the End of the Lane, fantasy fiction for adult readers.  It is the book club selection for August. This was not my favorite book. The main character drove to the Sussex country side where he grew up as a child, after being the speaker at a funeral.  We are not told whose funeral. I thought that was odd.  I thought I missed it and went to the beginning to reread. The main character has no name. Very odd. Anyway, once in the area of his childhood home, he looks for and finds a pond at the end of the lane that he remembers from his childhood. He remembers some strange magical incidents that happened when he was 7 years old.

"Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me." The narrator was a sad, lonely, and imaginative child who loved to read.  He found solutions to his problems in books.  He recalls how he met 11 year old Lettie Hempstock, her Mom and grandmom, and was transported to a whole new "other" world.  He recalls how he became the door that let the monster, Ursula Monkton, into his family's lives.

I am about to start an award winning book by Jamaican writer Marlon James, A Brief history of Seven Killings. If this book turns out to have the themes memories, time, and magic (the supernatural), then I think the universe is telling me something.