#FridayReads, Feb. 1–Kem Nunn’s Pomona Queen, an engrossing California novel by the writer dubbed the originator of “surf-noir.” I had earlier read his best-known book “Tapping the Source,” and am glad I’m reading another. His sentence-making is worth savoring, and he creates out of luck characters you tend to care about, despite their dysfunction. Here, his protagonist is Earl Deen, descendant of an orange-growing family that’s seen better days. I see Nunn as a sort of Cormac McCarthy for southern California.
Also read and marveled over Mike Dash’s article in Smithsonian, on a Russian family, members of a sect persecuted by Stalin that fled in to Siberia’s vast reaches, and were discovered 40 years later, barely aware of civilization and oblivious to modern history. I blogged about the story earlier in the week, and have been sharing it widely. An amazing story, the kind of true tale I loved publishing in book form when I edited the Kodansha Globe series in the 1990s.