Oh My Stars!

Oh My Stars: A Novel

Lorna Landvik

"The author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons cooks up a
novel of hard-won luck and the wonder of reaping blessing from
calamity. It's 1937, and shy, homely, 18-year-old Violet
Mathers—battered by a mother's desertion, a father's contempt and an
accident that cost her her arm—has decided to travel from her Kentucky
hometown to the Golden Gate Bridge, from which she plans to jump. But
when her bus is totaled in North Dakota, she's put up by a warm local
family, whose heartthrob son, Kjel, dreams of musical stardom with his
black friend Austin, a guitar virtuoso. Pitying Violet, Kjel ropes her
into a journey to retrieve Austin's brother, Dallas, a sullen but
musically gifted ex-con." – Publishers Weekly

I'd have to say Oh My Stars is the best book I've read in a really long time.  Landvik has a way with dialog and characterization that makes reading her prose an extremely pleasurable experience.  She conveys characters' motives to the reader without becoming tiresome by describing every inner thought they have.

The novel deals with some very serious and painful issues that plagued America during the Great Depression.  Landvik knows when to use humor without trivializing serious topics like racism, the Ku Klux Klan, and the poverty that struck the country in this time period.

The main character narrates the novel by way of an introduction to each chapter in italics.  The rest of the chapter is written in the third person.  This was an unusual format, but it worked quite well for this story.  I felt like I was sitting down with my grandmother and listening to her tell a story with the occasional aside.  As I turned the last page, I mourned the end of this mesmerizing story.

I can't wait to read her other novels.  As soon as the semester is over, I'll probably check one out from the library.

As you have probably guessed, I highly recommend this novel.  A++++

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