When asked about what he looks for in a novel, actor and writer Tom Hanks told the New York Times, “ Authenticity. I want to see the world accurately, and history examined is search of the details of truth.”
Hanks’ collection of short stories, Uncommon Type is due out this week. Each story pays homage to the typewriter, an object that fascinates Hanks. He collects old typewriters, yet admits he writes on a laptop.
Good fiction to me also illuminates the truth and recently I’ve plowed through some amazing novels.
This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel takes on how a child’s decision to change genders affects a family and community. When Rosie and Penn’s fifth son shows signs that he’s more girl than boy, the family responds first with secrets and then with openness.
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent reveals the co-dependency that evolves from incest. Set in California, the author employs his knowledge of the natural world to create an atmosphere of survival.
For insights into the immigrant experience in the United States, read Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers. You’ll wonder about the lives of those “invisible” people around us- taxi drivers, housecleaners and so on. Jende Jonga assumes leaving Cameroon for New York will improve life for him, his wife and six-year-old son. He’s ready to follow the American Dream. But what happens when his dream falls apart?
In Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Deming Guo’s undocumented Chinese mother, Polly, suddenly disappears, leaving the bewildered 11-year-old who is subsequently adopted by a white couple and moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate. His story of finding his mother and his identity moves quickly and brings home the issue facing many today.
I’ve ordered the Hanks’ book and am reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened. That’s a truth I’d rather not be reading.
Finally go see Marshall, the biopic about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. A sad reminder that with all the progress, much work remains.