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Posts Tagged ‘literature’

I heard Oscar Hijuelos on a radio show when this book first came out, and it sounded appealing.  Hijuelos is so talented and there are many pleasures to be found in reading Mr. Ives’ Christmas.  This narrative of sadness, forgiveness, and redemption is skillfully crafted and never maudlin. The way he evokes a sense of time and place, especially winter in New York, totally allowed me to become immersed in the setting.  Finally, his tenderly written observations of work, family, and church capture the beauty in ordinary things

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A terrific account of a businessman committing social suicide over the Christmas holiday. O’Hara’s first novel was incredibly controversial at the time, and it does deal with sex in a frank, but not salacious, manner. There is one particularly poignant passage where the main character ruminates on why the act of sex is such a vital part of their marriage, not just for the pleasure, but also for the way it binds husband and wife because it is a shared unique experience. O’Hara’s technique of shifting point of view is also quite modern. Some of the action is told through the reactions of neighbors, friends, and co-workers, which emphasizes the way in which individual actions are often subject to the perceptions of those around us. It underscores the detachment inherent in the things we do in “communities”. We may know the situation of others, but we truly never know the Situation.

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