I recently happened to read Ron Charles's Washington Post piece on The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a debut novel which Oprah has chosen for her book club, bringing US publication forward by a month (it will be released here in the UK in mid-January), more than doubling the print run and assuring sales that most authors can only dream of. I have the book in my TBR pile, and even before I'd read about the Oprah connection or seen the Charles seal of approval, I was impressed by Marilynne Robinson's comment on the cover of my proof:
"A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in its purity and rigour. The characters are full of life, mingled thing that it is, and dignified by the writer's judicious tenderness towards them. This first novel is a work of rare maturity."
Here's the gist: "When Hattie clambered from a train, her skirt still hemmed with Georgia mud and the dream of Philadelphia sitting round as a marble in her mouth, she couldn't guess that two years later, aged sixteen, she'd be fighting to keep her baby twins alive. Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she raises nine children with grit and monumental courage, but no tenderness. She knows the world will not be kind to them and wants to prepare themas best she can. As her sons and daughters buck against their fates, she feels every one of their triumphs and heartbreaks, for they are all bound together."
Back to Ron Charles but as his alter ego the Totally Hip Book Reviewer, and a video to which I linked ages ago; with perfume adverts everywhere just now, I think it's time for another look at this parody with a bookish theme, a sketch I still find very funny!