The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

What if you found an old mis-shelved fiction book in a University Library that contains an incident from your own life, described in perfect detail? This is the beginning of this wildly inventive novel and it gets better! Doors are painted on surfaces that become portals to an underground maze of tunnels and rooms filled with books/stories. Characters in reality interact with characters from stories, and time is very flexible. But this magical place is under attack and great quests ensue. Morgenstern’s writing is wonderfully imaginative; previously she wrote the fabulous The Night Circus (2011). Both books are must reads.


Amy adds; it’s a love letter to storytelling, and it gripped my heart.

Best of 2012

  • Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern): magic and reality are integrated
  • The Informationist (Taylor Stevens): excellent adventure/mystery; intriguing central character; set in Africa
  • 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami): outstanding; real imagination
  • Dancing Lessons (Olive Senior): really excellent; introspection into roles as woman/wife/mother; failure to communicate; perception/reality
  • Something Fierce (Carmen Aguirre): Giller winner; emotional cost of being a child of revolutionary parents in South America
  • The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach): baseball as a metaphor for guy relationships and the pursuit of perfection
  • Canada (Richard Ford): excellent
  • By Blood (Ellen Ullman): really interesting book about identity, adoption, Jewish heritage
  • Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn): really excellent psychological who-dunnit; best book in 2012
  • Hanging Hill (Mo Hayder): excellent murder mystery set in Bath and SW England
  • Defending Jacob (William Landay): legal thriller, about the possibility that a son is evil; really excellent