Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Fiction Class by Susan Breen

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With a name that conjures up windswept romance novels, you would expect Arabella Hicks' life to be as enchanted as that of a happily-after-heroine. Instead she's a middle-aged writer, teaching a fiction writing class, flirting with one of her students, and taking care of her ailing mother, Vera. As the semester wears on, Arabella and her students slowly reveal more of their private lives to one another, while Vera admits that she has written a story. Unfortunately, she can't think of the perfect ending and wants Arabella and her students to help her. But how can Arabella when she can't even think of an ending for her own unfinished story? Peppered with literary references and Arabella's class assignments, Breen's novel is surprisingly touching. Although Arabella's students resemble stock characters—the wacky old lady, the beautiful girl hiding a terrible secret—this is a poignant yet amusing tale of family relationships rendered even more satisfying by Breen's dispensing of Strunk & White–like advice. (From Amazon).

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