So, since the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I've decided to post a number of "capsule" reviews of some of the books I've read this year, but haven't reviewed -- a few very short (very short) lines about each work, mostly just a brief description and a word or two about how I felt about it. I think that should be doable, and then I can start next year's reading with no guilty "hangover" from this year.
So here's the first catch-up review:
The Inn at Lake Devine
Written by Elinor Lipman
Vintage Contemporaries, 1998; 253 pages
It's 1962 and all across America barriers are collapsing. But when Natalie Marx's mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: "The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles." For twelve-year-old Natalie, who has a stubborn sense of justice, the words are not a rebuff but an infuriating, irresistible challenge.Great little book! I read Lipman's The Ladies' Man a few years back and really loved it, and I've been wanting to read more by her ever since. I was hoping that first experience wasn't just a fluke, and I'm delighted to say it definitely was not. This tale of how an introduction to antisemitism at an early age affects the life of a young Jewish girl and all those around her is gorgeously written, moving and amazingly funny as well. Lipman is becoming one of my favorite writers -- I'm wondering if I dare try a third sample.
In this beguiling novel, Elinor Lipman charts her heroine's fixation with a small bastion of genteel anti-Semitism, a fixation that will have wildly unexpected consequences on her romantic life. As Natalie tries to enter the world that has excluded her--and succeeds through the sheerest of accidents--The Inn at Lake Devine becomes a delightful and provocative romantic comedy full of sparkling social mischief.