Quindlen ‘Still Life With Bread Crumbs’; Lee Smith ‘Guests on Earth’

Still Life With Bread Crumbs

By Anna Quindlen

Random House

252 pages, $26

Guests on Earth

By Lee Smith

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

337 pages, $25.95

By Karen Brady


Women on their own – by circumstance, not choice – are at the heart of two intriguing new novels by veteran authors Anna Quindlen and Lee Smith.

Neither writer, alas, is at the top of her game here but both Quindlen’s “Still Life with Bread Crumbs” and Smith’s “Guests on Earth” have pockets of excellence, and provocative story lines – Quindlen’s a telling yet witty tale for our times, Smith’s a heartfelt piece of historical fiction.

It is “Guests on Earth” that purports, at first, to be the more interesting of the two, giving us a young narrator, Evalina Toussaint, who is sent, while still a child, to Highland Hospital, in Asheville, N.C. The year is 1937 and Highland – a well-known sanitorium for individuals with mental

Article source: http://www.buffalonews.com/life-arts/book-reviews/quindlen-still-life-with-bread-crumbs-lee-smith-guests-on-earth-20140209

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