Franzen, Jonathan. Strong Motion. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.
Reason read: Franzen’s birth month is August.
I will say right off the bat that I did not particularly enjoy Strong Motion. There were chapters I definitely liked better than others. Had the plot been reduced to two or three story lines I think I would have liked it more. As it was, there was a lot going on in Strong Motion and I found myself bogged down by the verbose language and getting distracted very easily. The beginning of the book starts off simple enough. Louis Holland arrives in Boston right before a series of earthquakes start plaguing eastern Massachusetts. The first quake kills his wealthy grandmother, Rita Kernaghan, in a freak accident while no one else is even injured. From the moment you meet Louis you sense there is something off-centered or even dangerous about him. You don’t know whether to like him or not. He becomes fixated on his grandmother’s inheritance of twenty two million dollars. A battle ensues between him and his parents and sister for control of the money. In the meanwhile he has to balance his attraction to a Harvard seismologist studying the tremors that rock the eastern side of Massachusetts. Renee Seitchek knows the earthquakes are more than just a natural phenomenon (since when has the eastern seaboard been a hotbed for shifting earth?) and soon her focus is on Sweeting-Aldren, a petrochemical and weapons manufacturer, as the culprit. Is it possible they drilled holes deep enough to bury toxic waste causing Teutonic plates to collide? Throw in feminist issues, pro-life controversies, capitalist greed, attempted murder and environmental degradation and you have the whole of Strong Motion. Amidst apocalyptic chaos of epic proportions the Red Sox are in first place…
Author fact: Frazen demonstrates his knowledge of Massachusetts by carelessly tossing out names of towns like Waltham and Somerville.
Book trivia: Strong Motion is Franzen’s second novel.
Nancy said: Pearl called Strong Motion an excellent pomo book.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “The Postmodern Condition” (p 190).
July was jamming. Guess what! I ran a few times this month. Even participated in a charity run for an aunt-in-law (is that a thing?). I am feeling much, much better! And. And! And, I was able to read a ton:
- Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston – in honor of Jacqueline O. Kennedy’s birth month.
- Cop Hater by Ed McBain – in memory of McBain’s passing in the month of July.
- Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait – in honor of Lizzie Borden’s birth month.
- Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken – in honor of July being Kids Month.
- Gardens of Kyoko by Kate Walbert – in honor of Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
- Animals by Alice Mattison – in honor of Mattison’s birth month.
- The Coldest Day: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam – in honor of July being the month the Korean War ended.
- The Book of Mediterranean Cooking by Elizabeth David – in honor of July being picnic month.
- Den of Thieves by James Stewart – in honor of July being Job Fair month (odd choice, I know).
- The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason – to continue the series started in June.
- Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April.
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristam Koten.