Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book Beginnings: Burn Down this World and Her Sister's Tattoo

Please join me to share your book beginnings on Fridays and join Freda on Freda's Voice to share a teaser on The Friday 56. Read details about both events here.

I have a Book Beginnings twofer this week because these two new books share a theme. I think it is cool how they dovetail. Both are sibling stories with a past story line about Vietnam War protests and a more contemporary story line.

Reading them together is a particularly rich experience, a way to immerse yourself in the Vietnam war period by looking at the similar stories told in different ways.

It was the summer of fire, 1998. The east coast of Florida burned.

Burn Down this World by Tina Egnoski (Adelaide Books). The two stories in Burn Down this World involve a sister and brother who both protested the Vietnam war at the University of Florida but then parted ways. The other part of the story takes place during the 1998 Florida wildfires when the siblings reconnect and try to reconcile -- with each other and their past.

The August air was charged with whiffs of marijuana and patchouli oil, the sulfur stench of asphalt softening in the heat, and the distant admonition of tear gas.

Her Sister's Tattoo by Ellen Meeropol (Red Hen Press). Egnoski uses a "braided narrative" format, going back and forth between events in 1972 and 1998. Meeropol moves chronologically, starting with two sisters joining in anti-war protests in Detroit in 1968, following events through 1980, then jumping to a final section set in 2003.


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From Burn Down this World:

Dad came into the kitchen. He was in his uniform, ready to leave for work.

From Her Sister's Tattoo:

Under the table, he rested his hand on Rosa's thigh. "Conspiracy is what they charge when they really want to nail you big time."

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