The quality of a book is often defined by its story. It seems like stating the obvious, but with the array of books and authors out there nowadays, it is difficult to find the few authors who can write as well as string a story together. You may or may not have encountered them, those authors who really know their trade. I believe writing is a craft, an art form which only very few have mastered.
So here is one person who most certainly has: Lisa Genova. Her first, self-published novel from 2007, Still Alice, later acquired by Simon & Schuster, is a harrowing account of a woman’s life with early onset Alzheimer’s. The story however is not focused around the sadness of the illness, but concentrates on its characters.
Genova has an ability to not only use events, but the words themselves to tell the story.
The pace, the sentence structure, the punctuation, all are specific to each scene. You can feel the stress of the school run as much as the boredom of a day at home. It is one of the ways she has to make her characters so much more relatable. The other is honesty. Never have I found an author creating people and voices who are so sincere about their feelings, who know their faults and deal with failures.
Lisa Genova, born 1970, has a degree in Biopsychology and a PhD in Neuroscience. As a neuroscientist, she used her knowledge as a basis for her first book, but they are all incredible books. All three are different, with strong women at the heart of every story. The most recent, Left Neglected, represents best how Lisa Genova can write. The structure, the wording, the syntax – everything fits.
But each book has something beautiful and special. Love Anthony is about a woman so vulnerable and honest about her struggles and a little boy who has found the one person who understands him.
Over the coming weeks we will be reviewing three of Lisa Genova’s incredible stories: Still Alice, Love Anthony and finally Left Neglected.