Recent Books — Across the Nightingale Floor, All Other Nights, American Rust, The Imperfectionists

* “Across the Nightingale Floor”:amazon by Lian Hearn. Well regarded YA novel, tells the tale of a young man from humble beginnings who with the help of several mentors discovers his magical powers and rises to great heights. Well worn territory but nicely told. Amazon says 4.5 stars, that might be a little rich, I’d say 4, but it is a quality tale.
* “All Other Nights”:amazon by Dara Horn. A ripsnorter of a tale. A young Jewish Northern spy during the Civil War wrestles with his duty to country, his family, himself. Makes a lot of poor decisions along the way but an element of redemption at the end. Amazon says 4 stars, that seems good, tho I could even inch a little higher; while the setting is familiar, the character is unique.
* “American Rust”:amazon by Phillip Meyer. Life in the rust belt sucks, there are few ways out. Somehow two young men turn a tragedy into an escape for themselves, but not without a lot of trials. Amazon says 4 stars, I might stop at 3.5. It is a good story and gives much to think about, but, well, it is a little bit of a downer at times.
* “The Imperfectionists”:amazon by Tom Rachman. A trendy story, Amazon gives 4.5 stars. It is a very interesting story, doesn’t follow the typical novel structure as it weaves and bobs over 30-40 years of the operation of a newspaper seen through the eyes of different people, all with their own personal issues. But it hung together for me and ultimately was a rewarding tale.

While not the major element of the last two books, they both had themes of parent/child estrangement. And they both leave you feeling that there is no worse hell than being estranged from your child, particularly when the estrangement is largely of your own making. And the best way to become estranged is to make the relationship about you, instead of about your child. Good lessons.