Mississippi Books and Writers
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Nonfiction by Lewis Nordan
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 1565121996)
Publication date: January 2000
Description from Booklist:
In reading Nordan’s delightfully yarny but very moving memoir, one certainly recognizes the provenance of his delightfully yarny but very moving novels, including Wolf Whistle (1993), The Sharpshooter Blues (1995), and Lightning Song (1997). The author piles warm, humorous, and often poignant episode upon episode as he recalls his life. Nordan never knew his father, who died suddenly, and his father’s absence in Nordan’s life “has always been a significant blank spot in [his] imagination.” Nordan grew up in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and it is within that evocative Delta setting that his early remembrances are set, including the first time he ever saw a television set. Nordan’s mother remarried, and his stepfather occupies many pages of these recollections. When he was 15, he left home for the first time, taking a bus trip to Memphis; after that, Itta Bena couldn’t hold him. He left home for New York, did a stint in the navy, attended college, and got married. As he came into writing as his life’s purpose, darkness followed: a horrible car accident in which someone was killed, the suicide of a son, too much drinking, and divorce; remarriage and giving up alcohol have supplied the necessary light at the end of the tunnel. Nordan is a natural, honest, and widely appealing storyteller. Brad Hooper
A Novel by Charles Wilson
St. Martins Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0312253214)
Publication date: January 2000
Description from Kirkus Reviews:
Though 1993s The Cassandra Prophecy featured mere murder and drug smuggling, ever-brilliant Wilsons more recent thrillers have given their action sequences a titillating grounding in future science, as in Donor (nerve regenerating) and Embryo (Gestation outside the womb). The main gimmick this time out anticipates a recent New York Times article about future nannocomputers that can be reduced to the size of a blood cell and introduced into the human body. Wilsons ever-active intelligence community has invented a tiny computer chip that can be implanted directly into the brain, allowing various recipients (whose new mental powers and funds of information have been increased exponentially) to be fully aware of what their fellow chippees are doing and thinkingcreating a Monad, a minor mind of a God.
When five poorly chosen volunteer chippees (four men and one woman, all criminals) pool their resources, they come up with a game plan to take over the world powers and run things their way. The intelligence community, naturally, rises up in righteous indignation to fight these superpredators. The battle seems hopeless, with mere human researchers fighting the products of their best efforts. But as luck would have it, one chippee riding a motorcycle is hit by a truck, and he keeps waking and dying on his way to the morgue, alerting the medical pathologist who examines him to find a chip one quarter the width of a pencil in the dead mans brainwhich means, by thriller standards, the examiner must be murdered. These two deaths eventually involve young Dr. Spence Stevens, still another visionary who is working on an artificial retina for the blind. One wonders: Will the good Doctor Spence himself have to be implanted and engeniused to fight the villains? If so, what a wonderful battle. Smart, fast, and full of enough slaps on the cheek to keep you awake half the night. Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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