Claudia Moscovici

Book Review of Trivial Pursuits? by David K. Israel and Jennifer Byrne

 

There’s no easy or standard way in which human beings cope with loss. The process of mourning can pull families together or tear them apart. David K. Israel’s and Jennifer Byrne’s new novel, Trivial Pursuits?, reveals how two families deal with one of the most difficult and non-trivial aspects of life: the death of their loved ones. Although written in a realist style, with three-dimensional characters that readers can easily relate to, the structure of the novel has some postmodern, Robbe-Grillet, elements to it in the way it intertwines, in an almost accidental meeting, the two distinct strands of the plot.

One strand traces the life of Fareed, an endearing fifteen year old Druze boy from Israel, whose mother died tragically of breast cancer. He spends his life in an R.V. touring L.A. with his father, memorizing trivia in the hopes of landing a spot on the popular show Jeopardy! Teen-tour.

Incidentally, for the history buffs out there, the novel offers a fascinating depiction of the Druzes, people of Arab origin (perhaps with Jewish roots, some experts claim) that remain loyal to every country they live in. For this reason, as young Fareed explains, the Israeli Druzes are the only Arabs who enroll in the army to defend the state of Israel. This is a very interesting choice of narrator: one that crosses ethnic, religious and cultural boundaries in unexpected ways, especially given that the political situation in the Middle East is such a polarizing topic.

The second strand of the novel follows the lives of Amy and Greg, a couple who live a few miles away, in the Valley. Their marriage initially faces the challenge of not being able to have a baby (naturally) together, then the sudden death of their adopted child, P.J. To cope with their loss, both families undergo a difficult process of mourning. The only question is: will this pull them together or push them apart?

While Amy finds temporary solace in a casual but torrid lesbian affair with Lynette, Fareed experiences his first true love with an older girl named Eos. Their paths cross as Eos meets Amy and Lynette, but eventually the two sets of lives move in different directions. You can read this intricately woven and moving novel about loss and regeneration online, by purchasing it on Amazon.com Kindle Edition or by sampling select chapters on Neatorama’s Bitlit, on the link below:

http://www.neatorama.com/bitlit/category/trivial-pursuits/

Claudia Moscovici, literaturesalon

February 2, 2011 Posted by | bitlit, book review, book reviews, books, Claudia Moscovici, contemporary fiction, David K. Israel, Jennifer Byrne, literature, literature salon, literaturesalon, love, love story, Neatorama's Bitlit, new fiction, novel, novels | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Book Review of Trivial Pursuits? by David K. Israel and Jennifer Byrne

Neatorama’s Bitlit: Putting Writers in the Driver’s Seat

 

Writers have been waiting for this:  a social networking revolution of our own. Facebook revolutionized the way we keep in touch with acquaintances and friends. Linkedin made business networking a lot easier. Dating websites like match.com and eharmony.com have changed the concept of dating and widened the field of possibilities. And readers can share their opinions and tastes about books on websites like librarything.com, shelfari.com and goodreads.com.

It seems like among the major fields only publishing was left somewhat behind the times: with top agents meeting for lunch with the top editors and publishers, to negotiate the best deals for the most promising authors. Since no online networking can possibly eliminate human interaction, things may stay that way for a long time. But a brand new social network for writers is opening up new channels of communication among writers, readers and publishers, to put writers in the driver’s seat.

David K. Israel, a writer for Neatorama, and Alyssa Landau have recently launched a new serial fiction blog, called bitlit.com. They have already published online parts of David Israel‘s exciting second novel, Trivial Pursuits, which is co-authored with Jennifer Byrne, and David Wellington‘s extraordinary werewolf tale, Frostbite, which has drawn the attention of a major trade publishing house. They’re also publishing chapters from my second novel, The Seducer. I’ve recently joined their editorial team, to help give other fiction writers this unique opportunity to showcase their talent.

There are tens of millions of writers in this country and only a few hundred very busy literary agents. These agents usually play it safe and stick to established, “brand name” authors in this tough and very competitive publishing market. You do the math about the chances of any given new novelist of getting a great deal with a major publisher.

Neatorama’s Bitlit will give many more talented writers the opportunity to share their work with readers and perhaps even grab the attention of major publishers. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved: writers, readers and publishers alike. Writers get one extra venue to share and promote their fiction. Readers can sample it for free. And publishers get to see which new novels are popular, to make an informed, less risky, decision about publishing them in print. So please join us and see for yourself, at http://www.neatorama.com/bitlit/.

Claudia Moscovici, literaturesalon

December 13, 2010 Posted by | bitlit, book reviews, books, Claudia Moscovici, contemporary fiction, David K. Israel, David Wellington, fiction, Frostbite, literature, literature salon, literaturesalon, Neatorama's Bitlit, new fiction, novel, novels, online fiction publisher, publishing opportunities, serial novels, Trivial Pursuits, writer's network | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neatorama’s Bitlit: Putting Writers in the Driver’s Seat