Saints for All Occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan
Knopf - 2017
I fell in love with the cover art of Saints for All Occasions and had a hunch I'd enjoy the book, which I did.
In 1957 two young sisters, Nora 21 and Theresa Flynn 17 are bound for the US from Ireland hoping for a better life. Nora is the older sister and a mother figure for Theresa. Theresa is everything that Nora is not - smart, popular, out going. Nora imagines her sister will have the perfect life in America but, things don't exactly work out the way she imagined that they would. Theresa is seduced by a married man and finds herself pregnant and Nora must protect her sister and do whatever it takes. Set in (2) time periods late 1950s and then 2009, the sisters must confront the past and deal with the choices that were made many years earlier.
I liked the great character development and found this to be an enjoyable story overall.
Census; Jesse Ball
Ecco - 2018
Census was a quick and somewhat unusual read but, I liked it very much.
The story begins with an unnamed man digging his own grave. The man, a widower, a former surgeon is gravely ill and his concern is not what is about to happen to him but, what will happen to his son who has Down's Syndrome.
The man decides to take a job as a census taker for the government and father and son take to the road in an unnamed country, visiting various counties (A-Z). Each chapter is short and represents one of the counties along their journey and the individuals they meet, on what will be their final journey together.
This story is a brief meditation on loss, love and the meaning of life. It was written as a tribute to the author's brother who died of complications of Down's Syndrome at the age of 24.