It's been a while since we last updated our loyal readers (there are a few of you, right?) on the further adventures of our subscription plan, The Apple-a-Month Club. Although the last two installments have gone unreported, I can assure you that the program continues on, with your intrepid professionals scouring the latest and best fiction (and just to be complete, some of the not-best fiction, too) to dig up a book sure to delight, provoke, or otherwise entertain our subscribers.
If our reaction to the last two Apple-a-Month books is any indication, we think that our 8th and 9th books in the subscription plan are two of the strongest titles yet. Without any further ado, then, here's what we have to say about June's selection, Crusoe's Daughter:
"It's been a long time since I've been as surprised and utterly charmed by a novel as I was by Crusoe's Daughter. At once a masterfully written portrait of early twentieth century England and a fun story full of endlessly complex characters, Crusoe's Daughter begins with young orphan Polly Flint arriving at a strange yellow house on the moors which is inhabited by an even stranger pair of aunts. Through two World Wars, a bizarre stint at a mysterious home for artists on the verge of nervous breakdown, the lives and deaths of many of her loved ones and her own rather drastic ups and downs, Polly keeps close her beloved copy of Robinson Crusoe, which she considers her guidebook to all things. With nods Dickens and Charlotte Bronte (and the constant presence of Defoe) but with a wit and voice of her own, Jane Gardham weaves a remarkable tale of a life -- inner, outer, and all the intersections therein."
In July, we chose a novel translated from the French, Marie Chaix's Laurels of Lake Constance (trans. by Harry Mathews):
"History, we all know, is written by winners. Marie Chaix's novel shows the flip-side of that well-worn axiom, offering a poignant account of a man (a fictionalized version of her father) who made a disastrously wrong choice and, as a consequence, ended up on the side of the losers. It's a novel about war, politics, and family. Even more, it's about distance: the distance between heartfelt conviction and the practical application of those convictions; the distance between members of a family; and perhaps most achingly, the insurmountable distances borne of war."