The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol
The main characters are numerous, but not hard to keep track of -- several mothers and teenage children, various husbands, estranged husbands, lovers, ex-lovers, and other complicated relations. The plot concerns a variety of ways that the main characters deceive one another, deceive themselves, and try to deceive their children, who seem to see through them. It's not bad, though it goes on a bit too long. One or two of the lies and secrets are very far-fetched, but I won't spoil the surprise of finding out what the secrets are except that the eponymous eyes of the crocodiles are part of one of them.
Reviewers like this book better than I did. Reviewer Caroline See in the Washington Post: "There’s a three-part ending here that’s utterly preposterous, but hey, nothing’s perfect! — and this is a satisfying read."
Date: January 13
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Some of the characters are real, for example, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (no kidding). Several of the fictional characters work in the film industry, or want to. The characters are connected to each other one way or another, but their stories are fairly distinct until the very end, when there's a sort of philosophical chapter linking them together. Can you tell I didn't enjoy this book very much? I really liked the dust jacket, though -- it's retro.
Date: January 17
Where'd you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
In the course of the novel Bernadette's husband, a Microsoft-exec, realizes what he values while the reader chuckles at a really good send-up of corporate behavior. Slowly their early-teenage daughter learns about her family and herself as she searches for Bernadette who goes missing in a wonderful adventure. It works! If you need to know more, there are over 2000 reviews on amazon.com. Or you could just read the book.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
All of these books have been proposed as selections for my book club for next year, and they looked so good that I couldn't resist reading some and rethinking what I liked about the two I read in the past. I would be happy if we chose any of them except Beautiful Ruins, which is just too bad! I have at least two more proposed books to read and will report on them as well.