Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Post Ironic: June a novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

 June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a novel that tests the reader’s patience. I kept waiting for resolution of Cassie’s dilemma, but she lacked the will to move, lying in bed in her recently inherited dilapidated mansion. Fresh from New York City where she had a disappointing showing of her photograph work, Cassie is too careless and depressed to pick up her camera. She does keep framing shots in her mind in spite of grieving the death of her grandmother, June.

Into every depression a little sunlight must shine, and in Cassie’s case it comes in the sensations of sound and light, a knock on the door on a sunny day. I expected a rapid turnaround for Cassie but the pace of the novel did not change much with the arrival at her door of a young man approximately Cassie’s age with news about her inheritance. Nick has interesting information that may be life changing for the twenty-five year old recluse living in the small rural town of St. Jude, Ohio.

June had a personal history unknown to her granddaughter that included a brush with the bright lights and glamour of 1950s Hollywood. Famous star Jack Montgomery had come to St. Jude then to shoot part of a movie, and for some mysterious reason Cassie was now the recipient of a hidden legacy. Now I was hooked and settled into the slow-paced unfolding of the story.

The novel is presented in chapters alternating between 1955 and 2015, between June’s young hopeful life and Cassie’s continuing depressive symptoms. I found that I could only read for a short time, an hour at most. After that, when confronted with a new chapter, I put the novel down and looked for other things to do. But patiently, I always looked forward to coming back to June.

As the current saying goes, reading June is not for everyone. The novel is very well-written in the style of good historical novels. The mystery of the novel is in the relationships between characters, both blood and friendship, that create complex patterns of behavior over the decades. Beverly-Wittemore's post-ironic writing is wonderful in her character development and realistic depiction of life past and present in a small isolated Midwestern town. The careful patient reader will be rewarded by very good reading experiences in the 400 page novel.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Gary,

    After finding your review of The Martian, I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing my genre-blurring psychedelic novel, THE LIGHTNING STENOGRAPHY DEVICE. It will be published on March 19th, 2018 by my publishing house, Painted Blind Publishing, in multiple formats, including ebook (.MOBI, .EPUB or .PDF). In hardback, it is 430 pages in length; in paperback, it is 472. As I know it is a concern for many bookbloggers, let me assure you up front that the book has been professionally edited. I would love to send you a copy if you would be interested in reviewing it. However, the book is available on NetGalley, so if you have an account, you can read it right now! The link for that is below.

    The first marketable thought to text device is released for public consumption in 2031. That same year, author Cassius Wagner will have a seizure. At least, that is what the novel says: the novel to which he awakens in fragments one morning after a late night of writing. This novel. Terrified to have a prophetic manuscript unfurling at his heels, his desperation to evade his fate prevents him from considering that his lover and editrix, Katherine Beauvoir, might be wrestling with a destiny of her own. Told in four psychedelic parts which peak with the fable of a sublingual Huntress as she fights to save her King, THE LIGHTNING STENOGRAPHY DEVICE blurs the speculative fiction and fantasy genres to explore the fabric of literature, and the boundaries of reality.

    Please find below its ISBNs, its NetGalley page, a link to its Goodreads page. It is not yet available for pre-order on Amazon, and is therefore not presently reviewable on their site: however, on the date of the book's release (March 19th, 2018), I will send you a reminder e-mail with its Amazon page if you would be so kind as to post your review there, as well. Please be sure to see the beautiful cover art by artist, Nuno Moreira, available on the Goodreads page!

    NetGalley Page:

    Goodreads Page:

    Paperback: 978-0-9965395-3-1

    Hardback: 978-0-9965395-1-7

    Ebook: 978-0-9965395-5-5

    My own website is, if you would like more information about myself or my first novel. If you would be interested in reading the book, I will have an ebook copy to you by the end of the week. If you would prefer a print copy, let me know, and I can have a paperback in the mail for you no later than early December. Thank you for your time and consideration!


    Magdalene Sullivan