Florida by Christine Schutt. Florida is told in short bursts by Alice Fivey, who is shuttled between relatives when her mother, Alice, goes into a sanitarium. Uncle Billy and Aunt Frances take Alice to the desert vacation home. Their regular house is full of collections and not very child-friendly. Uncle Billy's driver, Arthur, ferries the family around and is one of Alice's favorites. He creates a tinfoil box for her mother to sunbathe in. Her mother, who dreams of goting to Florida, calls the contraption Florida.The novel is told in mostly short passages that seem more like connected vignettes. I thought it was bittersweet and engaging.
The bookworm is back from vacation. I read three books while on my annual family vacation and while I didn't dislike any of them, I woudn't say I was blown away either.
I'll start with my favorite: Alva & Irva by Edward Carey is told mostly by Alva. Alva are Irva are twins leaving in the imaginary city of Entralla. While Alva dreams of travel (she has a map of the world tattooed on her body), Irva is more reclusive. When Irva stops leaving the house, she and Alva undertake recreating the entire city in plasticine. Irva promises to leave the house once they've made a model of the entire city. Interspersed between Alva's recollections, the novel is narrated by one of Alva's friends. The novel is structured like a tour guide/ memoir, which the main narrator providing information about Entralla and the twins. It also includes images of the plasticine models of Entralla Alva and Irva created. While a tad bleak, I thought it was a quirky read.
Finally Stephen King's Gunslinger (volume one of the Dark Tower series). I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into here. I somehow managed to miss that this is part of a seven-book series. Yikes! I'm not sure if I'll make it through the whole series. Gunslinger traces Roland's quest across the desert to find the Man in Black. Along the way, he stops at a desolate town and meets Jake, a boy from New York City, which Roland has never heard of. I'll have to see what the other books are like before I decide whether I like the series or whether not enough happens to keep my interest.