Connie, whose point of view we hear, works in ceramics. With her ex-mate Jude she has a son named Peter, a young man in law school. This story is set at the change of the century, recent history, as my older brother who is in his 40s, was born the same year as Peter. Connie feels that pottery “gets” her; speaking from experience as I took art classes once (one of them sculpture related) I know that female artists tend to enjoy having their “space” (in regard to the issue of the other wives).
Jude, a biology professor, has a strong devotion to the study of herpetology; of which I could relate as I used to be fascinated by tiny cricket frogs I’d find outdoors, to the point of trying to capture them and keep them in a terrarium (they didn’t survive).
Later on I discovered aquatic-natured African dwarf frogs; which I loved because on a quiet morning I could hear them singing in their tank.
I enjoyed the author’s matter-of-fact, but colorful writing style. It is definitely not an ordinary story about “one big happy” family. Man of Clay made me think about all sorts of things; families, serial monogamy, ceramics and frogs!
As Halloween is inching closer, you may be hoping for a new horror fiction tale that really rocks. “Late Bite” is the first of a series of three books (the second volume to be released next year) entitled “The Toronto Chronicles”. Certainly not your typical neck-biter, Dragul Mangorian is a TV superstar, but only after he goes to trial on a plethora of charges. The attorney representing Dragul is committed and determined to see to it that Dragul is set free, despite all the obvious courtroom evidence that points to vampire characteristics.
Dragul is actually a member of a small sub-species called “Homo Sanguinus” in which very few are in existence, and upon his acquittal becomes an overnight celebrity. The press is having a field day and legions of adoring fans accumulate all the more when the attorney, Al Hamblyn, and Dragul partner together in a hit TV program Late Bite. Fans of horror will enjoy this wild ride of twists, turns and quirky occurrences, and Matsui’s darkly comical style of writing will keep you hooked all the way to the end.
This is one of those “enchanting” novels intended for a juvenile fiction/young adult reader audience. It also features illustrations, and full color, no less-something I always appreciated as they have a part to play in carrying the story along-when I was in that age group, I always felt like periodic illustrations were necessary-not because of short attention spans, but they help provide a visual blueprint of what the author is describing, especially in the case of wild, wacky creatures.
Told in the third-person narrative point of view, Iris has had a death in the family and she’s going through the motions of expected grief, but some of her accompanying actions are out of the ordinary for girls her age. Little does she know that all the things her Dad tells her she’s imagining, are leading her on a journey beyond the new home they have moved to that belonged to Iris’s deceased grandmother. It all begins when the neighbor’s son mysteriously disappears and Iris has an idea of where he could be, as crazy as it sounds. Following her grandmother’s wisdom of always taking the high road when the stakes are high, Iris and the brother of the missing boy embark on the mission of a lifetime that includes all creatures good, bad and ugly. Iris seems jaded about other people’s motives (earlier than I did in real life) but it’s served her well when dealing with some serious monsters in Fairalon.
All in all, the prose is very well-suited for the age group recommended, and the various creatures in the story, however close they are to familiar creatures of folklore, there’s nothing cliché about them. You’re never too old to believe in magic, as Iris and her friends discover.