Daily Archives: August 27, 2012

Book Review: Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Title: Little Bird of Heaven
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: 4th Estate, Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0007342549
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

I discovered Joyce Carol Oates a long time ago. I think about ten years or so. Since then I have always looked forward to what she writes and she churns out at least two books or so every year. Maybe even more. The fact of the matter is that she writes like a dream. Her prose is something else. It is of the macabre, the darkness, the sexually obsessed, of strained relationships and all about life as is – in your face and not a happy place to be in.

So when I got the opportunity to read and review one of her books, I could not help but give it a go. “Little Bird of Heaven” could be a love story. It could also be a murder mystery and a deep psychological drama. Joyce Carol Oates very cleverly makes the book about all of those.

“Little Bird of Heaven” takes place in a small town called Sparta in New York, where a young mother is found dead. The primary suspects are her estranged husband and a married man with whom she was having an affair. But that is not the story. The story is about the lady’s son Aaron and her lover’s daughter Krista who are virtually strangers to each other, and now linked to each other by this crime, as they struggle to be on opposite sides, while being infatuated with one another.

The story seems threadbare but it isn’t so. There are layers to it and rightly so, as this is just what Oates likes to deliver. Her narrative of this book is unique and surpasses somehow anything she has ever written. The first half of the book is told from Krista’s perspective, a young girl, who wants to believe in her father and somehow is torn between what is real and what she thinks of as reality.

The second part is told from Aaron’s perspective. It is less vocal, more introspective. It is about hidden emotions and not displaying any of them, even when your mother is no longer a part of the world. Despite this, Oates does not get sentimental at any point in the book. She writes with raw intensity and emotions that are in check. That is what is needed for a book like this I guess.

“Little Bird of Heaven” is about a lot of things – the past, the present and how the future shapes our lives. It is about emotional longing and cruelty. Of how children endure the pain and how they deal with it. This book is not a light read. It is about life on the edge and how the characters hang on to it. Joyce Carol Oates writes with some riveting insight. There is no happy ending; however I will definitely recommend this book to all.

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Winter of the World – Book Two of The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

Pan Macmillan India will publish, Winter of the World, the second novel in Ken Follett’s uniquely ambitious and satisfying Century trilogy on 18th September 2012.

To celebrate the publication of this epic tale, Pan Macmillan India has tied-up with Costa Coffee India for a special promotion for Ken Follett fans. Under this promotion all readers who purchase the Pan Macmillan edition of the book will receive a voucher with a scratch coupon and will stand a chance to win a cup of Costa Coffee. This exciting offer is valid across all Costa Coffee outlets in India. But the offer doesn’t stop here! Each reader also gets a chance to win book hampers worth Rs. 10000/-, Rs. 5000/- and Rs. 2500/- when they buy this edition of the book.

For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/PanMacmillanIndia/app_208195102528120

There is more exciting news in store for Ken Follett’s fans across the world. Pan Macmillan has also launched an ambitious digital storybank, offering Ken’s fans the chance to honour and commemorate their families’ experiences of living through the war.

Fans will be required to upload their stories on to the map-based app based on Ken’s facebook page, where they will also be able to read and listen to exclusive sample material from Winter of the World – tantalising glimpses of how Ken’s characters’ lives are also overtaken by the war. A selection of stories will then be published in a Winter of the World spin off ebook, due for publication in 2013, with all profits generated donated to charity. The app also allows lucky fans to get their hands on exclusive material from the book, such as signed mini samplers, a framed cover print and numbered, limited edition proofs.

The promotion will be supported by multiple marketing activities and extensive digital advertising in UK.

The app will have a huge global reach as Ken Follett’s publishers in the US, Penguin join with Pan Macmillan in this exciting project, which was launched on Thursday 23rd August 2012.

In Winter of the World, five fictional families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by war and tyranny. Now, Pan Macmillan invites Ken Follett’s digital fan community to take part in a project that illustrates exactly how real life families were also affected by the biggest upheaval of the 20th century.

Here is a book trailer: