Had breakfast today with the smart and talented Heidi Durrow. Her first novel, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
is the 2012 Everybody Reads pick for the city of Portland (actually for the whole county, because that's how our library system rolls).
If you haven't read the book, you should. The voice and plot are incredibly compelling. Her style is so concise and free of artifice, it's kind of like the MacBook Air--you can't believe how much it packs in.
The main character, Rachel, is the daughter of a Danish mother and a black American G.I. father. Much of the book is about her struggle to understand what this lineage means, and how it defines (or doesn't define) who she will be. I think what fascinates me most about the novel is that Durrow draws on a long literary lineage--full of European and American literary tropes and themes that date back centuries--and that in some ways, the novel is about understanding what this literary lineage means, and how it defines (or doesn't define) what twenty-first century American literature can be.
And Durrow pulls it all off without making a reader who doesn't know the literary lineage feel left out.