"Don't knock rationalization; where would we be without it? I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex." – The Big Chill
I may have posted this too late in the month, but I would love to get a book discussion going on this book. I hope someone will be interested but if not, we’ll try again next month.
I’ve been dying to read this book for quite some time. I finally got a chance to start it last night. From the first pages, I think I’m going to love it. I’ve always been fascinated by Russia, especially in the time period this book is set in. I’ve been looking at various articles and opinions and discussions about this book. I have to admit that I had to look up how the Bolsheviks took control over the Soviet Union in 1917.
You can find more explanation of how the Bolsheviks led by Joseph Stalin got control of Russia here
Here is an interesting Q & A with the author Amor Towles. He reveals why he is interested in writing books set in the early 20th Century. Also, even though he has been to Russia only a few times, he states that he is fascinated by the artists of Russia. Painters, poets, and writers.
I am looking forward to getting into this book more as my time permits. It is so aggravating to me that things like life and work interfere with my true passion.
If anyone would like to read this book along with me and discuss it, just let me know. There are lots of book club discussion questions that would generate an interesting and lively debate. Some can be found here.
I found an interview with the author, Amor Towels on youtube that is worth watching where Towels talks about this book.
Today, I am reviewing “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson.
A quote from the book that describes Lillian’s thoughts as she enters the elite preparatory school for the first time: “ As I walked to my dorm, I realized that the other girls didn’t even look at me, and I could tell that it wasn’t out of meanness. I don’t think they even saw me; their eyes had been trained since birth to recognize the importance. I wasn’t that.”
I liked this book so much more than I expected to. I tried to read “Ready, Player One” but it just wasn’t for me. So, Netgalley has sent me “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson. I decided to read that one in its place, and I’m so glad I did. This book made me feel good, sad, angry, and frustrated.
The Main Characters: We have Madison – Privileged child growing up and wealthy woman by any standards through her marriage to Senator Jasper Roberts.
Then we have Madison’s husband Jasper. He would prefer, of course, to be addressed as, Senator Roberts??? Jasper is in the midst of being vetted for a high political office. He is married to Madison and they have one son, Timothy.
Then we come to the protagonist, Lillian. Lillian is an impoverished child who grew up without wealth or affection. As she reaches adulthood, things haven’t changed much. She is working as a cashier at two different grocery stores and living in her mom’s attic.
I would be remiss in failing to mention Carl. He’s a jack of all trades for the Senator. He runs errands and basically does whatever he is called on to do. This includes babysitting at times.
Then we have the twins, Bessie and Roland. Ten years old and children of Jasper and the late Jane who committed suicide. Oh yes, one important thing about Bessie and Roland is that when angered or upset, they spontaneously combust. They are unharmed but the fire is read. Yes, you read that right.
Lillian and Madison, best friends in high school until Lillian leaves abruptly after a scandal ensues. They have not communicated much past an email or text message now and again in the past 15 years. Lillian receives a letter from Madison asking for help in a very delicate situation in the form of a job. She sends money for a bus ticket to her home. Lillian boards a bus and arrives at the Senator’s mansion. The “job” is acting as governess to Jasper’s twins who are now his responsibility since their mother’s death. Lillian accepts, after all how hard could it be? Lillian and the twins are housed in an elaborate “guest cottage” on the huge estate.
After they are settled into the guest house, several incidents take place that are, at the least, disturbing. I loved the way Lillian interacted with the twins and the steps she took to make their life as normal as possible including homeschooling them. The children loved her. But alas, another incident occurs and the result of that is Lillian fleeing with the children to her mother’s attic.
This story is wonderful. I wish there was a sequel to this book to find out what everyone is doing today. If there ever is one, I will be first in line to buy it. Highly recommended as an easy read and positive subject matter.
SOMETHING EXTRA I happened upon a video talking aboutNothing To See Hereon YouTube. Check it out, it’s awesome.
About the Author
Kevin Wilson was born, raised, and still lives in Tennessee. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Greensboro Review, The Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. His work has twice been included in the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology (2005, 2006). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Florida, he currently teaches fiction at the University of the South and helps run the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.