November 30, 2007
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
Contemporary (Historical) Fiction
Finished on 11/16/07
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
Tallgrass is a rare treasure, a historical novel that drops the reader into a unique time and place while illuminating universal truths about human nature. The story is told by Rennie Stroud, an adult who looks back on her childhood in a narrative voice reminiscent of Scout Finch's in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. As Rennie reflects on the impact of a Japanese internment camp on her small farming community in Colorado during WWII, Lorelei King uses tone and cadence to bring the various characters to life--Rennie herself, a father reminiscent of Atticus Finch, suspicious townspeople, and displaced Japanese. The icing on the cake is an extensive conversation between narrator King and author Sandra Dallas. They provide a historical perspective on the internment camps, drawing parallels with today's war on terrorism. N.E.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.
We recently purchased a treadmill to use during the long, cold winter months. As I've walked, I've been quite content listening to music on my iPod, but one afternoon while perusing the shelves at our local library, I decided to see if I could find an audio book to listen to for a change of pace. I came upon Tallgrass and remembered how much Kay loved it, so I added it to my stack. I've tried reading a couple of Dallas's books, but none of them grabbed my attention after the first few chapters and so they were subsequently returned unfinished. This novel, however, was very enjoyable to listen to. When I wasn't listening to it while walking on the treadmill, I managed 5 or 10 minutes on my short commute to and from work, plus a little here and there while cooking dinner.
I don't have much experience with audio book readers, but I was quite satisfied with Lorelei King's narration of the novel; each character was distinctly portrayed and the tension was heavy and foreboding. Not having the book in hand, though, means I don't have any special passages to share. As I said, Kay loved this book and has a marvelous review here. I enjoyed the audio book experience so much that I decided to pick up another from the library. Now I get to see what all the fuss is about with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. So far, so good. I'm actually eager to hit the treadmill for my hour-long walk!