4 good books for November
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty | The Final Revival of Opal & Nev | Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm | Motherless Brooklyn
The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (2021)
Opal and Nev briefly touched the top of the charts in the 70s before the repercussions of a riot at one of their concerts led to the dissolution of the duo. Years later, a journalist sets out to tell the story of their history in advance of a long-awaited reunion show. Walton’s craft is in the way it reads like an authentic oral history or an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music.
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (1999)
Lionel Essrog is one of four delinquents that small-time gangster Frank Minna plucks out of St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, but the only one with Tourrette’s Syndrome. After years of running errands and absorbing life lessons, Lionel is loyal to a fault. When Frank’s seedy ways catch up with him and he’s sent to an early grave, Lionel must contend with bizarre clues, suspicious partners, and a constant stream of tics as he bumbles all over the city trying to get to the bottom of it.
Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell (2022)
Circus Palmer is a talented trumpet player and incorrigible womanizer, but as he gets deeper into his 40s, the chorus of women in his trail starts to drown out his music. There’s his first wife, Pia, who’s still in love with him, their daughter, Koko, who is navigating her teenage years without steady support from either of her parents, and Maggie, a drummer Circus just may be ready to love until the announcement of their pregnancy sends him running. As Circus shrinks from his responsibilities, the women of the novel step in to fill the void with their dreams and disappointments, whether Circus is the cause of them or not.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (2022)
Feyi is ready to feel something again. Five years after her husband’s fatal car accident, she’s cautiously exploring new relationships, but isn’t ready for anything serious quite yet. That is, until she’s swept off her feet by an older man. The only problem is that he’s the father of one of the eligible bachelors she’s getting to know.
Instead of giving air to the salaciousness of the love triangle, Emezi centers the long road back through grief, and the strength it takes to accept the best thing when it’s not the obvious thing.