Book choice for April 2020

Priestdaddy [suggested by Amy Gregg]


From Patricia Lockwood--a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice--a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about balancing identity with family and tradition.

Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met--a man who lounges in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates "like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972." His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the Church's country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents' rectory, their two worlds collide.

In Priestdaddy, Lockwood interweaves emblematic moments from her childhood and adolescence--from an ill-fated family hunting trip and an abortion clinic sit-in where her father was arrested to her involvement in a cultlike Catholic youth group--with scenes that chronicle the eight-month adventure she and her husband had in her parents' household after a decade of living on their own. Lockwood details her education of a seminarian who is also living at the rectory, tries to explain Catholicism to her husband, who is mystified by its bloodthirstiness and arcane laws, and encounters a mysterious substance on a hotel bed with her mother.

Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and personhood. Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition.[product description from Amazon]

Shortlisted books for this month

Signs Preceding the end of the world

You will be safe here

Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there's no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages - one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld. [product description from Amazon]

 


 


Bad Blood

Bad Blood
From a childhood of gothic proportions in a vicarage on the Welsh borders, through adolescence, leaving herself teetering on the brink of the 1960's, Lorna Sage vividly and wittily brings to life a vanished time and place and illuminates the lives of three generations of women.

Lorna Sage’s memoir of childhood and adolescence is a brilliantly written bravura piece of work, which vividly and wickedly brings to life her eccentric family and somewhat bizarre upbringing in the small town of Hanmer, on the border between Wales and Shropshire.

The period as well as the place is evoked with crystal clarity: from the 1940s, dominated for Lorna by her dissolute but charismatic vicar grandfather, through the 1950s, where the invention of fish fingers revolutionised the lives of housewives like Lorna’s mother, to the brink of the 1960s, where the community was shocked by Lorna’s pregnancy at 16, an event which her grandmother blamed on ‘the fiendish invention of sex’.

Bad Blood is often extremely funny, and is at the same time a deeply intelligent insight by a unique literary stylist into the effect on three generations of women of their environment and their relationships.[Product description from Amazon]



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