Carmel Valley Library

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

“A Dangerous Business” by Jane Smiley

Carmel Valley’s very own Pulitzer-winning Jane Smiley has a rollicking brand new mystery out – and it is set in 1850s Monterey. The protagonists are two young prostitutes – best friends Eliza and Jean – who investigate the murders of several young women in town. There are lots of wonderful historical details and familiar streets and landmarks, and like all good historical fiction forces you to compare life to the present day. Fun references to Edgar Allan Poe too!

You can borrow “A Dangerous Business” from MCFL here! You’ll have to get on the wait list since this new book is so popular, but while you wait, you can borrow other Jane Smiley books from MCFL here while you wait.

“The Martins” by David Foenkinos

Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.

This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.

Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realize he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.

The Martins is such a great read. A clever take on the blurred edges between truth and fiction.

(translated from the French by Sam Taylor)