Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Days of Awe," by Lauren Fox

Despite what I said in my recent post of 10/4/15 about suddenly tiring of what I labeled as “women-in-the-city-and-their-love-affairs-marriages-children-jobs-angst novels,” just before that post I had read one of this type that I did enjoy: “Days of Awe" (Knopf, 2015), by Lauren Fox. It has all the requisite elements: problems in a marriage, problems with children, problems with friends, joys, sadness, the inevitability of change, fast-paced scenes, a bit of humor, a bit of mystery. The main character Isabel’s husband has moved out, yet the two maintain a warily amicable relationship. Her daughter is entering puberty and is suddenly becoming a sometimes-rebellious mystery to her mother. Her best friend has died in somewhat mysterious circumstances (note the recurrence of the theme of mystery, not as in mystery novels, but as in the normal mysteries of life). Fox is a good writer, and she kept my interest. One thing I liked was that the novel took place not in one of the more well known settings for contemporary American novels, but in Milwaukee, in the Midwest, a nice change of pace. But I must say that reading this novel just before I started to retreat from this genre of novels makes me think I enjoyed “Days of Awe” in a sort of routine, automatic way rather than with the true enjoyment and appreciation that occurs when a novel feels fresh and different, and thus was perhaps the penultimate cause of my stepping back from this type of fiction. (However, as I stated in that 10/4/15 post, I predict that this stepping away won’t last long.)
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