Monday, August 9, 2010

THE WRITING CIRCLE: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE WRITING CIRCLE

BY CORINNE DEMAS

ABOUT THE BOOK:

They call themselves the Leopardi Circle—six members of a writing group who share much more than their works in progress.

When Nancy, whose most recently published work is a medical newsletter, is asked to join a writing group made up of established writers, she accepts, warily. She’s not at all certain that her novel is good enough for the company she’ll be keeping. Her novel is a subject very close to her heart, and she isn’t sure she wants to share it with others, let alone the world. But Nancy soon finds herself as caught up in the group’s personal lives as she is with their writing. She learns that nothing—love, family, loyalty—is sacred or certain.

In the circle there’s Gillian, a beautiful, scheming, world-famous poet; Bernard, a pompous but lovable biographer; Virginia, a respected historian and the peacemaker of the group, who also happens to be Bernard’s ex-wife; Chris, a divorced father and successful thriller writer; and Adam, the youngest of the group, an aspiring novelist who is infatuated with Gillian. And then there’s Nancy, an unassuming fiction writer embarking on a new chapter in her own life. They meet to read their work aloud and offer feedback. Over the course of a year, marriages are tested, affairs begin, and trust is broken.

Through their complicated relationships, these eccentric characters share their families, their beds, and their histories, and soon find that buried secrets have a way of coming to light. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this richly engaging tale of love, betrayal, and literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Corinne Demas is the author of Eleven Stories High: Growing Up in Stuyvesant Town, 1948–1968, a memoir; two collections of short stories; a collection of poems; and numerous books for children. She has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships as well as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship. A professor at Mount Holyoke College and a fiction editor of The Massachusetts Review, she divides her time between Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod. She has belonged to several writing circles.

MY REVIEW:

Discovering Corinne Demas first through her fabulous memoir, ELEVEN STORIES HIGH, and then being charmed with her poetry and many children’s books, such as the delightful holiday tale about finding new friends in TWO CHRISTMAS MICE, Corinne Demas never fails to please her readers. THE WRITING CIRCLE, her newest novel, is no exception. Drawing from her own experience in writers’ groups, teaching her craft, and writing so many wonderful books, Corinne Demas gives readers a fascinating look at the literary world that “outsiders” are normally not privy to. THE WRITING CIRCLE leads readers through an interesting character study of a group of writers and from there expands to include their families and shows how their complex personal lives intertwine to produce complications, romance, mystery, and betrayal.

Set in western Massachusetts, Demas’s familiar home base, the narrative is told using a different point of view in each chapter, alternating between the various characters. I found this to be the perfect way to follow the story by looking at all sides of the issues and intricacies of the characters. The Leopardi Circle is the name of the writing group that meets to share parts of their current work, be it fiction, poetry, or non-fiction. The purpose being to gain constructive feedback that might improve each writer’s work.

The main character, Nancy Markopolis is the newest member of the group who is asked to join when one of their members dies. Nancy is tentative at first as she listens to the more experienced writers, but she soon overcomes that as she learns more about each member. Hers is a novel of fiction which is drawn from an early memory of her beloved father and is based on his early life and in a way, pays homage to him. Her personal life is in a good place right now and little does she suspect what this new association will do to tear her dreams to shreds.

Researching George Frideric Handel, is Bernard, an overweight, unrestrained biographer who actually introduces Nancy to the group. Bernard is so wrapped up in himself that he is rather oblivious to the complicated emotions and feelings of other around him. Bernard’s ex-wife, Virginia, is a novelist and the comforting maternal figure of the group. She is always there to offer sympathy and compassion to the group when friction occurs.

In the two single males, we find Adam, the youngest of the group, and one that Virginia has taken under her wing, who has been working on a new novel for so long as he tries to draw from his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts project. Adam is a melancholy and naive character suffering from unrequited love. Chris, the older of the two, is the author of successful thrillers that he writes on a regular basis. He restrains himself as he tries to maintain his relationship with his two young sons that are being played as pawns by his self-centered ex-wife in a custody battle.

Finally, there is the poet, Gillian, a possible Pulitzer Prize candidate, who is the famous writer in the group, and whom everyone values for her work. However, some have had other relationships with Gillian while another yearns for more. Gillian’s condescending personality and inexhaustible egotism drives the group mad as well as steers the plot toward disaster.

THE WRITING CIRCLE draws the reader into the lives of the characters, and twists and turn just enough to make one suspect where things are heading only to be shocked by such a startling and stunning conclusion. Corinne Demas totally had me for the entire novel and then absolutely knocked me off my feet with the ending. DO NOT look at the last page, PLEASE, as the pleasurable build up to the climax of the book is a journey you will take, in my opinion, in one sitting, as you are so drawn in and you can’t put down THE WRITING CIRCLE!

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO CORINNE, MOLLY, AND
THE GOOD PEOPLE AT HYPERION/VOICE,
I HAVE ONE COPY OF THIS MARVELOUS
NEW NOVEL AND BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN
THIS BOOK AND AUTHOR SO MUCH
, I AM
ADDING A SECOND COPY MYSELF SO THAT
I CAN HAVE TWO LUCKY WINNERS!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE DESCRIPTION AND REVIEW OF "THE WRITING CIRCLE" AND WHY YOU WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: "LIKE" CORINNE DEMAS ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE HERE AND LEAVE A COMMENT THERE THAT YOU HAVE SEEN MY REVIEW OF HER BOOK ON BOOKIN' WITH BINGO

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE AND LEAVE ME YOUR LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ON CORINNE DEMAS'S WEBSITE. YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK AT ALL THE BOOKS SHE HAS WRITTEN FROM CHILDREN'S TO ADULTS' AND SEE WHICH YOU HAVE READ, OR WOULD LIKE TO READ, BY SEARCHING HER WEBSITE HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: VISIT MY EARLIER INTERVIEW LAST DECEMBER WITH CORINNE DEMAS AND READ IT TO SEE THE "CONNECTION" I HAVE WITH HER. COMMENT ON SOMETHING INTERESTING YOU FOUND OUT IN THAT INTERVIEW BY GOING HERE


GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, AUGUST 23!


81 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This book sounds fantastic! I want to win it because of all the twists and turns and the fantastic ending. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I found it interesting that the author grew up in New York City and I've never read any of her books. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

traveler said...

I am captivated with this novel since it captures wonderful characters and their lives in depth. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I would love to read Eleven Stories High very much. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I enjoyed learning that you both have the same Maiden Name and have parallel lives as well. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

The Writing Circle sounds like a book that would be memorable and the interaction and storyline is fascinating. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

The author has such talent to write poetry, short stories and novels. They all sound wonderful. I would like to read Her own memoir. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

You and the author were both teachers. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

This book sounds just wonderful! I love getting into the heads and hearts of writers, and this book sounds like it does just that. So often we readers fall in love with a writer for their words, but they are often not what they seem. Would love to give this book a try!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I liked Corinne Demas on Facebook but there was no place to write a note on her wall....would love to if you can assist me with how to do so (they didn't give you that option).
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

+5 swagbucks!
candc320@gmail.com

Tea said...

I would like to win The Writing Circle. I like books about small groups of people who while doing one thing become involved in the personal lives of one another.

teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

suburban prep said...

The book sounds interesting. There are relationships that are between differing personalities that might not be ordinarily met.

msgb245 at gmail dot com

Tea said...

I blogged about the giveaway in my sidebar. http://readwithtea.blogspot.com

Tea said...

I shared on Jungleorchid, my facebook page. I put a message on her page, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135336893158786&ref=ts#!/pages/Corinne-Demas/108158642539260?ref=ts

I think she has two pages. Not sure.

Tea said...

Although you haven't met Corinne Demas personally, both of you are very close. I like the part about you being in Fla. and your sister being in New England and getting the Eleven stories for you. That's what sisters are all about, the special little kindnesses.

debbie said...

It sounds really good. I like the character development and how they interact and influence each other. It sounds like it isn't always in good ways. I would love to read it.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

holdenj said...

The book sounds great! I love that the story doesn't seem to just be a routine women's fiction story, but has twists as well.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

These characters sound very interesting.

ilkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Always In Trouble sounds good..it reminds me of my son's Basset hound.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

You both had the same maiden name and were both teachers of some kind.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Christine H said...

+5swag chirth7@yahoo.com

Jeff said...

+5swag jeff72768@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

+5 swag shundelt@yahoo.com

Tore said...

I am a follower and email subscriber. I want to read this book because it sounds very interesting and goes into the depth of the characters and their lives and their books. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Anonymous said...

+5 Swagbucks


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

"The Writing Circle"sounds engrossing because the members of the group are open to sharing the most personal parts of their lives.
That's why I'd like read this book.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I "liked" Corrine Demas on FB. That was the east part. Then after an hour of playing with it, I finally posted my comment about the review on Booking with Bingo. I have no idea of how I did it!!!!!

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I would like to read her memoir as I love memoirs. It is titled "Eleven Stories High, Growing up in Stuyvesant Town, 1948-1968.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

The author has the shares maiden name with you and the two of you share many parallels in your lives.
Also, I find it interesting the auther is able to successfully write for both adults and children.
She says that she just keeps her audience in mind.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Sarah said...

I loved the review and all the detail that the book holds. I think a great read has lots of info on the characters!

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I "like" her on facebook and read your review!

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I love childrens book and I will have to look her up as an author of them!

foxchick0323@live.com

g.g. said...

I would love to win this book and especially liked the part about getting to know the characters so well and then a sudden ending like that! Wow!

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

So many of her books look good and I think he memoir would be interesting to read but the poetry book with the donkeys is intriguing to me as well

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

That is so interesting about you sharing the same last name and so many other things in childhood

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Hi! The book sounds like a fascinating read. I like all the characters and that they all do writing. When I read this review about the book I immediately thought of the book "The Jane Austen Book Club". Thank you for doing this giveaway! :)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Benita said...

I love books with strong characters and a little bit of surprise. This seems to have both.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

I'd love to read her play, The Blue Straw Hat.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

Your earlier post was fascinating. I loved how your children's book connection came about.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

rubynreba said...

I would like to win it because you made me want to read it with your review - love an exciting ending!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I would like to read Eleven Stories High.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

Interesting that Corinne and you have the same maiden name and both were teachers.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

CherylS22 said...

Great review! I want to win this book because "Demas gives readers a fascinating look at the literary world that “outsiders” are normally not privy to".

Thanks for the chance ~
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I haven't read any of Corinne Demas' books, but I found one I'd like to read - "The Same River Twice".
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I thought it was interesting that your sister got to meet Corrine Demas at a speaking engagement of Ms. Demas'.
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

Debbie said...

It sounds so enthralling with all the plot twists and different characters and personalities

fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

Amanda said...

I am definitely intrigued that there is a plot twist at the end! I love books that keep me guessing!!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Amanda said...

We have her children's book, Always in Trouble, and my boys both love it! It has a cut out at the very end where the dog 'ran through' the page and the boys always think it is hilarious when we get to that part!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Amanda said...

I learned in your earlier interview that The Littlest Matryoshka was written as a Christmas present for her daughter!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Margie said...

This book sounds like it has an interestig combination of characters, all aspiring writers. I like the fact that chapters are written from different points of view.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

She's the winner of a Lawrence Foundation Prize, the University of Missouri Press's Breakthrough Contest, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Competition. She is also a professor at Mt. Holyoke College. Very impressive list of accomplishments.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

StephTheBookworm said...

I have been wanting to read this since I first heard of it a couple of months ago! I love to read about writers, friends and women!

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

StephTheBookworm said...

I'd like to read her book Eleven Stories High because I love memoirs!

Margie said...

From your earlier interview...her children's book career started by writing down the stories she told her own children.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

LoveMyCoffee said...

Count me in for this one. I love a book with lots of twists and turns. I also love to be totally lost in a good book, this sounds like it's just my style.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

LoveMyCoffee said...

The author spends her summers in Cape Cod. She was IRL in a writing group.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

Christine H said...

I'd love to read this book about author's. It reminds me of talking with my authors friends and how they all have critique partners, I bet they'd get a kick out of this book too. I'd love to read it!

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

+1 MORE ENTRY: "LIKE" CORINNE DEMAS ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE HERE AND LEAVE A COMMENT THERE THAT YOU HAVE SEEN MY REVIEW OF HER BOOK ON BOOKIN' WITH BINGO

I tired to do this but it kept saying I needed to log in when I already was and there was no place to comment, I even tried under someone else and it didn't work. But I did Like the page.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

https://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/21783768354

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000641625482&v=wall&story_fbid=122162537833198

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/chirth7/review/45047008/

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&authorID=533391661&messageID=6680440350&hash

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I'd like to read Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I didn't know you were a teacher, My Niece just got her first teaching job last week!
I know what you mean about wanting to meet someday. I have authors fcriends I'm on the emails with everyday and I can't wait to meet them too. Great interview BTW I'd love to get that book for my nephews about dealing with loss.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I loved the review! I'd love to read about writer themselves, Thats something I can say I've never read about. Sounds great!

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

1 MORE ENTRY: "LIKE" CORINNE DEMAS ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE HERE AND LEAVE A COMMENT THERE THAT YOU HAVE SEEN MY REVIEW OF HER BOOK ON BOOKIN' WITH BINGO- I liked her on facebook but It wouldn't let me leave a comment. shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://twitter.com/Grandmamaof10/status/21785874485

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100001087052807&v=wall&story_fbid=147741981921694&ref=mf shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/shundelt45/review/45047556/

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&authorID=540593519&messageID=6679460634&hash

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

My daughter pointed out Saying Goodbye to Lulu
It's something we both want to buy. i have some grand babies I think this book would be great for. I know losing a pet was something my daughter took very hard growing up.

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I read yiour both teachers, I didn't know you were a teacher Karen what great profession!
It was a real nice interview and you could read how much you like and respect her.

shundelt@yahoo.com

jeff said...

All the twists and turns make it sound like a great read!

newmanfmly@live.com

jeff said...

I like her on facebook.

newmanfmly@live.com

jeff said...

I think that she writes childrens books is interesting!

newmanfmly@live.com

jeff said...

You both were teachers:)

newmanfmly@live.com

Sarah said...

You both had the same maiden name!

foxchick0323@live.com

Audrey said...

I'd be really interested in reading this book because it sounds entertaining and interested, and because I am interested in writing and being published, so the subject matter really appeals to me.
Thanks for the giveaway!
twigerina[at]hotmail[dot]com

allisonsbj3 said...

I love that it's set in MA, I just moved here! Sounds like a great book!

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonsbj3 said...

I'd also like to read The Littlest Matryoshka.

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

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