Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Justin Cronin Novels

Last year, I read two books I dearly loved by Justin Cronin, an author I accidentally discovered. The Summer Guest  (reviewed in this linked site) was the one I read first. The story’s structure and characters and plot are wonderful, realistic and believable.  Then I had to scramble around and find his other novel, his first, Mary and O’Neill.  They are both about love as the thing most worth living for, not the terrible self-centered kind that we so often see.
The Washington Post review linked above has this to say about The Summer Guest:
"Cronin's unabashed skewing for joy when most authors would spill over into sentiment or only trace the callous missteps of love is brave and bold. The Summer Guest explores love as the binding agent of life, not the factor that pulls it apart."
Since I loved those two novels, I then had to buy Cronin’s latest novel The Passage , because that’s how I operate. What a shock. It is good for the kind of novel it is, but it is nowhere near the same kind or quality of story as Mary and O’Neill and The Summer Guest. (Now I have to admit that my reading preferences are probably different from many people’s.)
The Passage, I was surprised to see, is the ultimate vampire story. It is, like the others, beautifully written. The characters have distinct personalities and their lives have realistic, universal concerns with which a reader can identify. It is about 700 pages long; I thrive on big, fat books. The ending leaves things open for a sequel.  
Reviewers love the novel and call it the most talked-about novel of the summer.  As one Washington Post reviewer notes, "The Passage is for adults who've been bitten but can't swallow the teenybopper misogyny of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series.
I read that the book is already widely read and wildly popular. It was sold to a major movie maker for over  three million dollars, and it is expected to be a blockbuster movie. I’m happy about that for Cronin. But I hope that he will someday write some more wonderful literary novels about the human heart in real life struggles, because he does it with supreme skill. And I have a hard time with vampire novels.

*The picture comes from this site: http://enterthepassage.com/author/ 

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