After long years of being away from the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m going to write about thrillers of all stripes, mysteries, and crime novels for 26 days in April, based on the letters of the alphabet. All posts will be linked here.
These Women by Ivy Pochoda : Book Description
Ivy Pochoda creates a kaleidoscope of loss, power, and hope featuring five very different women whose lives are steeped in danger and anguish. They’re connected by one man and his deadly obsession, though not all of them know that yet. There’s Dorian, still adrift after her daughter’s murder remains unsolved; Julianna, a young dancer nicknamed Jujubee, who lives hard and fast, resisting anyone trying to slow her down; Essie, a brilliant vice cop who sees a crime pattern emerging where no one else does; Marella, a daring performance artist whose work has long pushed boundaries but now puts her in peril; and Anneke, a quiet woman who has turned a willfully blind eye to those around her for far too long. The careful existence they have built for themselves starts to crumble when two murders rock their neighborhood.
These Women by Ivy Pochoda : Excerpt
The mud carries Anneke. There’s a moment when she feels as if she is flying and floating. She closes her eyes, lets herself be carried. Is this what the woman in El Salvador felt bobbing in the waves? Was this how she bounced against rocks weightless on the water? When did she stop caring? Was it before she was tossed into the sea? Or was it when the darkness came across Rodger’s eyes a floodtide of black that swallowed his irises? Down the mud goes. The hills of Malibu are receding above her. The mud is rushing invading some houses and skipping others. Is this house the world slips away in slow motion? Anneke is spinning buffeted from one side of the stream to the other. It’s almost peaceful. These women. These women, beautiful and wild, out of control. These women he loved with a ferocity he couldn’t tame, a passion he didn’t understand. These women who tortured and tormented him. These women who would taunt screw and die. These women he loved, hated, and destroyed. These women. All these women who haunted Western. Anneke had tried to keep them safe, she tried. What more does the world want? The mud blankets her face as black as Rodger’s stare. One by one things are lost to her: sight, smell, and now sound. She can no longer hear the mud roar. It has filled her ears. She continues down in quiet.
About the author, Ivy Pochoda
Why pick up These Women by Ivy Pochoda
I picked up this book on Libby based on the cover alone–the audio version, and was immediately drawn by the women’s voices. This is not your usual mystery or thriller, though there is a whodunit aspect that does get solved.
Instead of centering the perpetrator, this story absolutely centers the women who are either the victim, or the investigator, or those in the periphery of the crime, one way or the other. We do not get the story all at a go, and must piece it together via subtext. Part of one woman’s story finds either meaning, or resonance, or development in another’s. We see how women are treated as dispensable, their bodies objectified, sold, and violated and trashed. Pochoda does this not through cheap gore but careful, nuanced, stunning language.
Finding the culprit is peripheral to this story, which, by centering the women makes an understated yet deafeningly loud statement: “These women don’t belong here. They don’t belong anywhere.”
The novel questions the concept of justice, who gets it, who goes unheard, who wields power. How monsters emerge from the very fabric of our indifferent society obsessed with ultimately unimportant things.
It ended up being one of the comp titles for The Blue Bar (publishing likes to talk about new books as similar to previous books), because it speaks about some of the same themes I keep returning to. My obsession is the whydunit, the periphery of crime, how crime affects families and how families exist around crime.
These Women is evocatively and specifically set in Los Angeles, but really, it could be anywhere: Mumbai or London or São Paulo, or Melbourne or Amsterdam, because these women, they are ignored everywhere. If you love glorious, hard-hitting language, provocative themes, and atmospheric stories, this one is for you.
Have you read the book, These Women by Ivy Pochoda? If yes, what did you think of it? What crime novels have you read lately ?
Through the month of April, to celebrate the challenge and get some support for THE BLUE BAR, I’m holding this giveaway:
Enter to WIN a 50 USD Amazon gift card for this
Entries are simple: click the RAFFLECOPTER link above, and follow the instructions. It calls for a Goodreads add, a subscription request, and a follow on Instagram.
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