July 29th, 2011

wish, daisy

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

What will the world be like 200+ years from now? The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson gives us a taste of the distant future, where you can jump into a cab driven by a life-like bot and get on (or off) the grid. Sure, it's easy to look something up on the iScroll embedded in your palm - but someone just might be tracking you...

The Fox Inheritance, Pearson's follow-up to The Adoration of Jenna Fox, tells us what really happened to Jenna's friends Locke and Kara after their tragic car accident. Their minds were suspended digitally for over 200 years before being downloaded into newly-created bodies that look almost exactly like they used to look. Told from Locke's POV, this book is for techies who dream of a future (im)perfect.

We held hands. We crossed a line. We made one another braver.

Though The Fox Inheritance could be read as a stand-alone, readers will have a better understanding of the story and its characters if they read The Adoration of Jenna Fox first. However, if you adored Adoration (as I did), make sure that you walk into Inheritance in the right state of mind: in other words, don't expect the second book to pick up right where the first one left off. The narrators have different voices and go on very different journeys. While the first book was highly introspective and showcased a protagonist having revelations about the world and about herself, the second has more action, as the characters travel across the country, running from the bad guys.

The Fox Inheritance will be available August 30th, 2011.

This review was cross-posted at GuysLitWire.

Favorite quotes from the book:

I have a fabricated body. I am in a world that is completely different from the one I was born into. What I think is all I have left. My mind is the only thing that makes me different from a fancy toaster. What we think does matter - it's all we truly have. - Page 105

...I remember a line from a poem that Jenna always liked - all I could see from where I stood - and I wonder if she remembers it too. Or was it Kara who liked it? It's hard to remember. - Page 207

"I saw why this world goes on," she says. "I saw all the hope of the future, even when this world is one big mess. Looking into Kayla's eyes made me hope for a better future. Maybe hope is all that's ever kept the world going."

"That's a lot to see in one little girl's eyes," I say.

"Yes," she answers. "It is."
- Page 252

Picture yourself five years from now, son. Where do you want to be? Remember that. Every day. That's how you'll get there. - Page 291

Related Posts at Bildungsroman
He Said, She Said: The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Book Review: Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson
Book Review: A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson
Mary E. Pearson Interview from 2008
Mary E. Pearson Interview from 2011

lost girl, here

Interview: Jane Mendelsohn

I was recently able to pick the brain of author Jane Mendelsohn via the GoodReads website. Mendelsohn's critically-acclaimed stories include I Was Amelia Earhart, Innocence (a novel I highly recommend and hope you will read before you see the movie), and American Music. Here's my quick Q&A with Jane:

Did the premise for any of your novels arrive in a spark of inspiration? Any stories behind the stories?

Yes, the premise for my first novel, I Was Amelia Earhart, came when I read an article in the paper saying someone had thought he'd found a piece of her plane. The article mentioned that she'd had a navigator, which I'd never known. The idea of Earhart and navigator flying and crashing together immediately got me thinking and sparked my imagination.

My second book, Innocence, actually began as a horror script. Before Amelia was published I was asked to write a horror story about a teenage girl. I worked on it after the publication of Amelia, which was a thrilling success but also a very unexpected and a somewhat traumatic introduction into the world of commerce for me, so I poured a lot of my feeling about that into the writing of what was for me a very metaphorical vampire story.

The story behind the stories of my most recent novel, American Music, is that I had two ideas that wove together. The first was when I heard that there was a secret formula for making cymbals, centuries old but still used today. That got my imagination going on many levels -- I imagined someone fruitlessly searching for the secret to making symbols (I liked the pun/double meaning). In the end, the novel really did become about that, about symbol making and storytelling and their inextricable relationship to love.

The second spark of inspiration came from an anecdote someone told me about a man who would never lie on his back. I instantly imagine a soldier, and starting weaving a story about his secret, his reason.

As you just mentioned, the protagonist of Innocence, Becket, is a young teenager. What were you like when you were Becket's age?

When I was Becket's age I was similar to her in that I was living in the somewhat psychotic world of adolescence, where things are changing so quickly and the brain is evolving so much that the relationship between fantasy and reality can be, or appear to be skewed. But I was Becket's age in an earlier time, and what I was trying to convey with her story was, in part, the difficulty of being her age now, when popular, consumer culture is more than ever feeding off the minds and wallets of teenagers, like a vampire.

Your writing style has been described as lyrical. Do you find your narrative voice wholly different from your daily voice, or do you write how you naturally speak or think?

I don't speak the way I write, as you can perhaps tell from these replies. I think I would drive people crazy if I spoke in the way I write! But I probably do write the way I think. It's an interesting question. In my writing I am trying to get at the rhythms I hear in my head and the intensely visual way I experience the world, while attempting to achieve a level of abstraction that doesn't interfere with the story. For me, the book is a lot about the experience of reading and writing the book, the simultaneous experience of losing yourself in a story while still being conscious of the storytelling. I am always trying to combine opposites and create startling juxtapositions that are beautiful and interesting, and this applies to ideas, stories, images, language.

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To learn more about Jane Mendelsohn and her works, visit her website.

Related post:
Radar Recommendations: Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn
books

Best Books of July 2011

July 2011: 30 books + scripts read

Recommended for ages 12 and up
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Doggirl by Robin Brande

Recommended for ages 14 and up
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

The Play's the Thing
What the Moon Saw, or I Only Appear To Be Dead by Stephanie Fleischmann
Asiamnesia by Sun Mee