Camp Nine: A Novel

Camp Nine - Vivienne Schiffer I came up with nine reasons to read this fine debut novel: here are the first few, and my full response is here. I hope you'll check it out!

1. Remarkable wrangling with world-changing matters: racism.
(Most of what I say in my post is about this: but there are other fine reasons too.)

2. Southern US setting
(Many readers know and love Southern fiction, but this isn’t Mississippi: it’s Arkansas. That’s refreshing. Even if Chess does think it’s boring!)

“I sank into his oversized leather chair and spent the next three hours in the romantic English countryside with Jane Eyre, holding at bay the crushing boredom of the Arkansas Delta.”

3. Family dynamics
(Southern literary families: so messed up. From the O’Haras to the Mortons: power struggles and all that talk of land.)

4. Vibrant minor characters
(Like Willie “Cottonmouth” Monroe, who seems to be at the margins of the story, but without him, the rest of the narrative would have taken such a different shape.)

5. First-person narration across time
(Which plays intelligently with the skeleton of what is understood in the past with later realizations of complexity. It’s not just about what is remembered, but the evolution of perspective.)

“So many things lay ahead, but it would only be in looking back that I would see them all connected.”

[And the rest is here...]