Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jackie Says These "Compellingly Garbled Tales" Kept Her Up Late Into The NIght

Timothy Schaffert has created his most memorable character yet in Essie, an octogenarian obituary writer for her family's small town newspaper. When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie stumbles onto the story of her life. Or, it all could be simply a hoax, or a delusion, the child and child-thief invented from the desperate imagination of a lonely, lovelorn woman. Either way, the story of the girl reaches far and wide, igniting controversy, attracting curiosity-seekers and cult worshippers from all over the country to this dying rural town. And then it is revealed that the long awaited final book of an infamous series of ya gothic novels is being secretly printed on the newspaper's presses.

The Coffins of Little Hope tells a feisty, energetic story of characters caught in the intricately woven webs of myth, legend and deception even as Schaffert explores with his typical exquisite care and sharp eye the fragility of childhood, the strength of family, the powerful rumor mills of rural America, and the sometimes dramatic effects of pop culture on the way we shape our world.

Jackie says:
"This is a story about a girl who may or may not have gone missing,  because she may or may not have ever existed.  It's also the story of  the small town who became famous because of her, no matter her existential state.  But more than that, it's a story of a family who  owns the small newspaper that writes about the search for the missing  girl.  It's also the story of a reclusive yet extremely famous YA  novelist, creator of much beloved and obsessed about fictional  characters whose story is about to come to an end.  These four story lines are all told by an 80+ year old obituary writer, who slowly  weaves them into a collective whole that reveals some, but not all, of  the answers to the questions in the book.  I loved this book, it's  short chapters and compellingly garbled tales keeping me up late into  the night as I told myself, 'just a few more pages...'.  But above all, I love that the reader is left with things to figure out for  themselves--this ongoing trying to puzzle things out will make the  book's impact last long after the covers are shut."

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