Hello there, reader friends! If you've not yet heard, Allison at The Book Wheel has once again organized a fantastic reader/author/blogger event for the month of September called #30Authors. I will be talking more about it in 2 days (as the official host for Sept 12th's #30Authors post!), but the general gist is this:
30 authors each choose a book to read/review (by a different author), and their reviews are posted, one a day, on a different book blog throughout the month of September. So during this month, you're getting 30 different authors reviewing 30 different books, one on each day of the month. And you get to visit some terrifically fun book blogs along the way. Kudos to Allison for that brain child, right?
I have the privilege of pairing up with Ruth Galm, author of Into the Valley, for this event (she has dubbed us a #30Authors "dynamic duo," and I can't disagree). Even though it is not required for me to read/review Ruth's book, I thought it would be fun to do so before her post goes live here on the 12th, especially since her debut novel sounds so darn intriguing (summary from Goodreads):
Into the Valley opens on the day in July 1967 when B. decides to pass her first counterfeit check and flee San Francisco for the Central Valley. Unmarried at 30, B. doesn't understand the youth counterculture but doesn't fit into her mother's world of dresses and kid gloves.
B. is beset by a disintegrative anxiety she calls “the carsickness,” and the only relief comes in handling illicit checks and driving endlessly through the valley. As she travels the bare, anonymous landscape, meeting an array of other characters—an alcoholic professor, a bohemian teenage girl, a criminal admirer—B.’s flight becomes that of a woman unraveling, a person lost between who she is and who she cannot yet be.
Into the Valley came at a perfect time for me, because I've read a lot of fast-paced thrillers/psychological dramas this year, and while I do love those genres, I've been yearning for something a little less...overt. A novel that relies more on atmosphere and subtlety rather than shocking twists and suspense (though this book does have suspense, in its own way). Plus, it's got a pretty cover. I'm a serious sucker for a pretty cover.
The novel's Central Valley setting infuses itself into Galm's writing style. The searing heat, the unforgiving landscape, the unsettling isolation: these background elements are felt so intensely as you read that they eventually take on their own life within the story. After a while, B. is the valley and the valley is B. I've never even been to this part of California, but every time I picked up this book, it felt familiar.
B.'s journey is not a typical soul-searching mission. I loved trying to figure out what makes her tick: what is it that is missing in her life, that could make her "carsickness" disappear? (Does she want the carsickness to disappear?) After a while, her exploration turns into more of an unraveling, leaving you with an increasingly uneasy feeling as you read on. The conclusion was both not at all what I expected, while also being exactly what I wanted.
Sound like a good read? I thought so, too! If you want your very own copy to enjoy, Ruth and her team at Soho Press are kindly offering a copy to one of my lucky readers. Enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter below (US/Canada only, ends Sept 16th). There is also a separate MEGA book giveaway going on with #30Authors, which you can enter here on the 12th, so stay tuned!
a Rafflecopter giveaway