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LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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This novel, which I read when first published in 1988, had stuck in my memory and made my list of top 25 of all time. I just reread it as part of my “Reading in the Time of COVID-19” project. It’s a simple story about a lifetime of unrequited love finally becoming requited after 50 years. Florentino Ariza pursues Fermina Daza beginning as a teenager, but she eventually rejects...

Stay at Home: Week 5

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Starting the fifth week of staying at home due to COVID-19. Here are my thoughts: I’ve gotten a lot done around the house. Repaired a rotted window, rebuilt my firewood crib that had partially collapsed, fenced in an area and started planting vegetables, raked out all beds, fashioned a new door for my Little Free Library. Also getting a lot of exercise, although none of it is playing tennis...

Happy Birthday, Bob Klein

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That’s my dad and I riding bikes past the old casino in Delaware Park, Buffalo, New York, 1973. It was late March, the piles of snow melting in the background. I’m 14 years old, a high school freshman. My father is 46, married, the father of five, a rising marketing executive at a pharmaceutical company. Today is his birthday. He would have been 93. The photo is staged because a...

Happy Anniversary

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It was among the art and light and spring air of Paris that we first got our start, and a year ago today Harriet and I returned to that same city to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. For our twenty-sixth, we’re housebound. She’s upstairs at her desk working from home. I’m downstairs at mine. Two college-age kids are back living with us, finishing their semesters...

Dinner with Family — and the Mob

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What to do when hunkering down with the family? We ate spaghetti dinner thanks to my son, 20, who made us sauce, and we watched The Godfather, one of my favorite movies of all time. About family. I tried to get the kids to watch The Godfather when they were still too young, probably six or seven years ago. It didn’t hold their interest. This time it did. Daughter 21, watched a three-hour...

Today I Bled, and Other COVID Thoughts

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I had to get out of the house and I put on my hiking boots and at the end of my neighborhood I ducked into a wooded area on top of the ridge above our rail trail. The landscape was gray and brown, like the rest of the day and my spirit. We really are in a reality show, just like the president wanted when he ran for office. Only he’s the villain in this story, not the hero. He’s a...

ASYMMETRY – Lisa Halliday

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I had to think on this novel for a while. “Asymmetry” was a darling of the literary media when it appeared in 2018. The New Yorker called it a “literary phenomenon,” The New York Times included the novel on its list of top books for the year, as did Barak Obama. Of course I had to find out what the fuss was all about. My conclusion is as asymmetrical as the novel itself: I...

The Backstory On First Chapters

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Here’s the backstory on the first chapters of novels posted on this site: My literary agent sold STASH to Random House in a two-book contract, the second book turning out to be CLEAN BREAK.  After years of writing and rejection, I had made it as a novelist with a major publishing house. Everyone was excited about STASH. The publisher at the novel’s imprint, Broadway Books, said it was...

“You Only Live Twice”

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I corkscrewed down the research rabbit hole today. I got interested in stories of people who faked their own death — the whys and hows of it — and I came across an interview with an expert in faking death, Elizabeth Greenwood, who wrote a book titled “Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud.” This book is now on my to-read list. Turns out that lots of...

Two Weeks In: 10 Thoughts

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Two weeks into social distancing I remain in my bunker with spouse and two college-age children. Despite the horror of the coronavirus and the misfortune of many who are suffering, at this point I feel so fortunate to have my family. We’re doing well together.But I also have a helpless feeling — meaning it’s hard to find ways to help if we’re supposed to stay home. The...

It’s Always Survival of the Fittest

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With much of the country shutting down and coronavirus cases continuing to rise, a philosophical question is being asked by economists, politicians, and health experts: Should a balance be struck between doing everything possible to halt the virus versus keeping some semblance of an economic engine to keep people employed? On one extreme, we could let COVID-19 run its course through the...

MARIETTE IN ECSTASY – Ron Hansen

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While practicing social distancing, I’ve decided to read from a list of the 25 most important novels in my life. Ron Hansen’s MARIETTE IN ECSTASY came out in 1991. I read it then and I re-read it this week. This haunting, melodic, vivid story woke me up almost thirty years ago to what “voice” means in fiction, and the impression the novel made on me then remains indelible...

Writing in the Time of Covid-19

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Writers shouldn’t rush to put out a Covid-19 book, according to Sloane Crosby in her recent New York Times essay. Even though every writer in the world is seeing the world through a virus lens at this moment. Even though we’re all sentenced to our desks. Even though we can’t concentrate on writing anything else. At least Crosby understood the irony of her own writing about what...

Troubled Times: Day Six

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It’s been one week since I’ve been practicing social distancing. Mostly I’ve mostly stayed home, which is what I usually do anyway, since I’m a writer that works from home. So in some ways my usual routine is intact. In other ways, not. Both college-age offspring are living again home. I’m pleased. Spouse now working from home. We’re a family that’s together. But now we’re four adults and that...

Passing Time Hunkered down at Home

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I once gave a poem I wrote as a wedding present, slipping the envelope into the basket among all the other envelopes which I’m sure contained money and not poems. It was years ago, when I lived in Santa Cruz. I remembered this now because I’ve been hunkered down at home against the coronavirus and have found time to go through some old journals. The poem I wrote was for Maz and...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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