“I feel that we are inundated with violence and it becomes something that drives our aesthetics. There is a banality and a predictability to it all: the disappearance, the search, and the inevitable discovery of a dead woman or girl, who has nearly without exception been sexually assaulted. When I was a young reporter I was shocked by this, and as a novelist I wanted to explore it.” ~ Cara HoffmanI recently read Cara Hoffman's first novel, So Much Pretty. I really, really liked it. Due to fortuitous timing, while I had just started reading it, I happened upon a live chat with the author on Twitter. I learned two exciting things that day: 1. this book is being made into a film and 2. Hoffman is working on another book that sounds like it will be just as good as her first.
So Much Pretty is compared a lot with the Stieg Larsson trilogy and The Lovely Bones, probably because these books are so popular and more people will be able to relate. I think So Much Pretty is actually more comparable to Winter's Bone, American Rust and Songs for the Missing. To say Hoffman's writing reminds me of Stuart O'Nan is high praise from me.
I enjoyed this book because of its many themes (rural culture, violence against women, leftist idealism, ecological issues, adolescence, poverty, healthcare). Interesting issues aren't enough though -- there are plenty of writers who utilize news headlines and topical controversial issues for their stories. Hoffman's book is so enjoyable because she writes with intense authenticity and a journalist's ability to keep the story moving along at an engaging pace. I didn't detect a single false note.
•A hardcover copy of So Much Pretty has been kindly provided by Simon & Schuster.
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NOTE: Giveaway reserved for residents within the U.S. and Canada.
The winners will be selected from the comments using random.org.
Deadline: midnight, April 28. Winner announced April 29.