Review: A Wasp in the Fig Tree

A Wasp in the Fig Tree - excerpt from 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award EntryA Wasp in the Fig Tree
by Mary Bryan Stafford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Wasp in the Fig Tree / B004TEYT1O

This is a truly wonderful excerpt that draws me in and makes me distressed that I can't read more. The writing is incredibly vivid and the descriptions are a perfect blend of visual imagery and the necessary restraint that keeps everything from coming out "technicolor". One line that really stuck with me was the jackrabbit's ears being so translucent against the sunrise that you could count your fingers through the ears. That imagery was just so beautiful and intense that I felt acutely like I was in the story. For that matter, the setting is wonderfully well-realized - too many authors have no idea what Texas looks like, but the author here is clearly working with first-hand knowledge and it shows.

I love the exquisite prose, and all the wonderful pain and sorrow you've brought to bear in a few short pages. I'm also really blown away at the story so far - tax evasion and suicide may not sound like real story winners, but it definitely hooked me. Overall, this is really a fantastic excerpt. It's not perfect - I felt a little confused at points as I worked out the family details, the backstory, and the main character's overall appearance - but I would definitely read more and if I'd been browsing this in a store, I would have closed and bought the book well before the end of the chapter.

NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.

~ Ana Mardoll

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