James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)


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Goes the Weasel , came in rapid-fire succession and Alice Walker, born in Eatonton, Georgia in , overcame a disadvantaged sharecropping background, blindness in one eye, and the tense times of the Civil Rights Movement to become one of the world's most respected African American writers. While attending both Spelman and Sarah Lawrence Colleges, Walker began to draw on both her personal tragedies Alice Walker, born in Eatonton, Georgia in , overcame a disadvantaged sharecropping background, In eleven novels written over four decades, Leon Uris has chronicled the unceasing fight of dedicated individuals against the forces of oppression, in particular fascism, communism, and imperialism.

In the tradition of the historical novel, Uris sets his work during times of crisis World War II, the founding of Israel, the Irish fight for In eleven novels written over four decades, Leon Uris has chronicled the unceasing fight of From Love Story in to Prizes , his most recent bestseller, Erich Segal has created a body of fiction that testifies to the importance of traditional values and virtues in contemporary life.


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To drive home his views, Segal revitalizes the sentimental novel, which evokes emotion to assert moral precepts. This study, the first full-length Born to a tobacco farmer in rural North Carolina, Kaye Gibbons found her literary voice by speaking through the strong southern women who inhabit her novels.

While concentrating on the places and people she knows well, Gibbons has managed to speak for people who struggle to find their own place, wherever they are, and her books have reached a Born to a tobacco farmer in rural North Carolina, Kaye Gibbons found her literary voice by speaking Ken Follett had the purest of motives when he began writing fiction: he did it for the money.

Scott Turow is a novelist, lawyer, and humanist who has fused his two passions, writing and the law, to create challenging novels that raise significant legal issues and test the justice of present laws. In all of his books, Turow reveals the moral ambiguities that afflict both accuser and accused, and challenges his readers to reconsider their Scott Turow is a novelist, lawyer, and humanist who has fused his two passions, writing and the law, Like Arthur Conan Doyle before him, best-selling novelist Robin Cook has turned from the practice of medicine to that of writing popular suspense fiction.

Widely recognized as the Master of the Medical Thriller, Cook uses the medium of the popular novel to address a range of social issues: environmental pollution, gender inequality in the Like Arthur Conan Doyle before him, best-selling novelist Robin Cook has turned from the practice of This is the first book-length study of the popular novelist Tom Robbins. Whimsy and humor characterize Robbins' work, but style and language are the keystones. Several critics in fact suggested that Love Medicine be regarded as a short story collection rather than a novel.

Although Erdrich experiments idiosyncratically with the form of the novel, features of her work resemble those of other writers. As Hertha D. Like Morrison and other contemporary women writers, she offers scenes of childbirth, domestic activity, and family life; her characters—female and male alike—not only nurture children but also cook, sew, and peel potatoes. Like Erdrich as well, who often addresses the plight of the orphan in her work, both Sarris and Alexie present portraits of Native American characters as orphans.

Both Treuer and Power are reported to be working on novels that feature Native Americans in an urban setting.

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In both Love Medicine and The Bingo Palace, ghosts make appearances, and in several of the novels miracles occur. She further explains that because she was raised in the tradition of Catholic symbolism, where the occurrence of the miraculous is not an unusual event, her rendering of the marvelous can often be read in the context of religious mysticism. In that novel four women characters who are trapped together during a blizzard tell one another stories of their lives with another character, the man who has been husband to each of them.

With the exceptions of The Crown of Columbus and The Antelope Wife, however, her novels are connected to one another, sharing a setting in the North Dakota landscape and a community of characters whose lives frequently intersect. In between its opening and closing scenes, Love Medicine draws upon repeated instances of images of water to shape a motif that resonates throughout the book. Similarly, The Beet Queen uses air imagery as a unifying device, and Tracks repeatedly in- 18 Louise Erdrich vokes images of earth. Erdrich also uses repeated metaphors in her depiction of characters.

Indeed, the appearance of the grin signals the exercising of Pillager power. In The Beet Queen, Karl Adare likewise sees his own life in terms of the landscape that surrounds him. Indeed, sections or chapters from almost all of her novels have been published independently as short stories. In Love Medicine, which Erdrich was inspired to write when she began to see connections between short stories she had already published, the form of the short story is perhaps especially apparent.

Erdrich, after all, is a writer who begins her work with the solitary image, word, or title that serves as the focal point for the telling of stories and for the shaping of narrative designs that link stories together. Several of her novels have been listed among best-sellers, and both Love Medicine and Tracks have become part of the canon in American Literature classes.

In fact, many of her characters either do not survive or pay a steep price as the cost of survival. Occasionally, too, her use of comedy seems playful, and in Tales of Burning Love she presents an extraordinarily funny scene in which three women who have all been married to the same man attend what they believe is his funeral. As readers suspect, Jack Mauser is of course very much alive. Through the art of her storytelling, she affords readers occasion to listen to a variety of distinctive voices and to recognize the ways in which many individual stories are all part of life in a community.

The manitou, as Erdrich spells it, is an eternal spirit who has 22 Louise Erdrich existed among the Ojibwa since the time of the creation of the world. Nevertheless, in Ojibwa tradition, the word— used either as a noun or as an adjective—denotes a special kind of madness, a form of craziness that, as Erdrich later shows in The Antelope Wife, arises from an all-consuming hunger. These manitous came into being in winter and stalked villagers and beset wanderers.

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They could kill only the foolish and the improvident. Johnston Another scholar, Victor Barnouw, offers a slightly different account when he states that the only way someone can combat a windigo is by becoming a windigo, by assuming a giant size and turning into ice. In some cultures the trickster is a creator, and this is indeed the case with Nanabozho, who makes the earth from grains of sand the earthdiver brings him.

In some tales Nanabozho is presented as a culture hero, a savior of his people; for example, when he tricks the Great Gambler at his own game, he saves the spirit of his people from the threat of the windigo. He is a teacher and a healer, and often pauses in his wanderings to instruct his people in the medicinal uses of plants.

In many stories, however, another side of Nanabozho is revealed, for, like other tricksters, he is also sometimes foolish, a buffoon and a blunderer. Old Nanapush, one of the narrators in Tracks, tells the listeners of his tales, for example, that he was himself named in honor of the trickster. Through Lulu, to whom he gives his name, the tradition of the trickster is passed along to members of the Pillager family.

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His son, Lipsha Morrissey, is the trickster in quest of his parents, the trickster as gambler, and also, of course, the trickster as buffoon and blunderer. Hansen perceptively examines the variations Erdrich plays upon this theme through Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, Tracks, and The Bingo Palace, where Erdrich introduces Shawnee Ray Toose, a young, unmarried mother who has made the decision that she will not be a mother who abandons her child.

Although Hansen was not able to include in her study a discussion of the last novel in the series, Tales of Burning Love, she would have found there another interesting variation on her theme, for the baby in that novel, far from being abandoned, has not one but two mothers to nurture him. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch with those of canonical works by Euro-American writers, whose plots often feature accounts of leaving home.

Often survival depends upon a tricksterlike ability to adapt to changing circumstances, as it does, for example, in The Beet Queen, where the community of Argus must restructure its entire economy around the sugar beet in order to survive. In Tracks, the Native American characters depicted as tricksters not only survive the loss of their traditional economy, as well as the land upon which it is based, but they also survive the threat of the loss of their cultural heritage.

Erdrich is, of course, particularly interested in portraying the survival of Ojibwa cultural tradition, and, indeed, her own work as novelist contributes to that purpose.

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NOTES 1. See pages — The meanings of Ojibwa words Erdrich uses are generally made clear in their contexts, as indeed are many of her references to Ojibwa tradition. Bevis has in mind such novels as Moby Dick, Portrait of a Lady, Huckleberry Finn, Sister Carrie, and The Great Gatsby, books that relate the stories of characters who seek indentity or opportunity by venturing far from home. A national best-seller, Love Medicine also rapidly made its way onto the syllabus in many literature classrooms. In Love Medicine was reissued in a new and expanded edition. As Erdrich explains in a published interview, this reading was not one she had intended to evoke.

In preparing a new edition of a previously published literary text, Louise Erdrich joins company with W. The second version must therefore be considered the authoritative text at present, and that is the one hereafter addressed in this discussion. Clearly, Love Medicine and the other books do not take the shape of traditional, linear, protagonist-oriented narratives.

As this feature of her writing indicates, individual chapters within the nov- 32 Louise Erdrich els possess the patterns of coherence and the gestures of closure that are traditional characteristics of the short story. In other words, the stories of a cycle are coherent narratives in and of themselves at the same time that they are essential parts of a larger narrative structure. Her books therefore assume an episodic structure that is characterized by these shifting points of view.

More recently, Robert M. While both Ingram and Luscher offer terms that might well help readers understand the design of a work like Love Medicine, J. In what ways are the narrative effects of the story cycle or sequence different from those of a more traditional novel?

This plot, however, differs from that of the picaresque in that it neither features a protagonist nor depends upon a linear chronology. Although Love Medicine does not follow a continuous action to its climactic resolution, plot functions in each of its separate episodes to progressively give shape to one of the recurring patterns embedded in the text. When this vague hope is not realized, and when her bus is no longer there, June sets out on foot toward home. In a scene of terrible violence expressive of his grief and sense of isolation, King attempts to drown his wife after he has viciously smashed all the freshly baked pies prepared by the women.

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Through a grotesquely comical turn of events, Marie does realize the ambition that drew her to the convent, but she also comes to understand that this site of black and twisted love is not where she belongs. Nector, who has earlier been sent away to school and has also traveled through the wheat belt, adventuring all the way to Kansas, relates the story of his encounter with Marie.

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Having therefore recently returned to a life on the reservation, he has lately had in mind a different kind of quest. Not unlike King, for whom home is neither on the reservation nor in the city, Nector comes to live his life suspended between the attractions of these two women, Lulu and his wife, Marie. In time, Lulu Lamartine makes herself a home where she knows she belongs, on the reservation.

Bev, who now lives in the Twin Cities, has for many years envisioned for himself a home with a son. It is not long, however, before he recognizes that his plans will have to be revised. The chance meeting in the city is for both of them a makeshift means of trying to bridge their distance from home. The glorious adventure recounted at the beginning of the chapter marks for both brothers the last carefree summer of their youth, for it is right after the journey to Alaska that Henry joins the Marines.

Lyman therefore sinks that red convertible before he leaves the river to head homeward with the lie that he will offer to his mother. Like his mother, he is someone who knows exactly where he belongs.

James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers) James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)
James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers) James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)
James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers) James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)
James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers) James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)
James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers) James Patterson: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)

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