Posted by : atcampbell | On : March 16, 1999

The Border by Marina Fitch

Eight people showed up for this meeting, and one person e-mailed in comments. The topic of our discussion was Marina Fitch’s novel The Border. This is a present-day magic realistic fantasy novel involving a family that tries to flee Mexico and escape into California for political reasons. The family is separated at the border, and not all of them make it across. Years later, the daughter who remained in Mexico tries again to cross the border and reunite with her family. The book’s fantasy element is a “spirit friend” who guides the woman in her journey.

This book has several interesting elements. The spirit guide has an intriguing personality and nature. A couple of the characters in the book practice origami (the Japanese art of paper folding), and we liked how this was worked into a strong plot element. The book is divided into two sections with radically different

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : March 2, 1999

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The most recent novel by Connie Willis drew a sizable crowd. Seven people attended the discussion in person, and two others submitted comments by e-mail. The book in question is a time travel novel with the same basic setup as Willis’s Hugo-winning Doomsday Book. This time, a time-traveling historian is sent back to Victorian England. He was so tired at the onset that he never clearly understood his mission, so he spends much of the book trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do. Along the way, he stumbles into a series of humorous romantic adventures reminiscent of the works of P. G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Several members of our group loved this book so much that they were ready to award Ms. Willis the 1999 Hugo before the votes are even cast. The writing style

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