Authors You Should Try: Carol Goodman
Posted by: Rebecca Vnuk
I recently finished an advance copy of Carol Goodman’s upcoming book, Arcadia Falls, and it reminded me of what a good choice her novels can be for most book discussion groups.
You can find a list of Goodman’s books at her website, so I won’t go into plot synopses here. What I can tell you though is that they all have similar themes. They revolve around: Mothers (this woman needs some therapy, I think!) ; academia or art (or both); mythology, folk legends or fairy tales; secrets best left untold; and water (as with the mother theme, I’d love to know what her obsession with water is!).
Goodman’s writing is what I like to call “literary lite”, which is why I like it (you’ll soon discover, if you haven’t already, that I do not enjoy literary fiction). She is very descriptive, but not overly so. Her characters are rich and multi-dimensional, while still being human and accessible. Her themes, particularly those of art and mythology, are intelligent and make the reader want to research what she’s talking about. The twist here is the strong element of suspense and danger in all of her novels, making them interesting to non-literary readers.
One of her novels I’ve used for several groups is The Seduction of Water, the story of a woman trying to find the lost book written by her mother, a famous author. I think that her first novel, The Lake of Dead Languages, about secrets at an all-girls boarding school, would also make a great discussion. If I’m not mistaken, the trade paperback versions of her novels all have discussion questions in the back, as well. Give her a try!