‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
In the early part of the 20th century, the Osage nation, given a supposedly worthless reservation, was blessed with the discovery of black gold. They soon became the richest individuals in the world. However, these great riches also attracted the attention of others greatly interested in the wealth. Soon there were numerous murders — some by gunshot, some by poisoning and some by explosion. Local authorities were either unable or unwilling to provide the Osage nation with justice. The Osage turned to the federal government for assistance. The new Federal Bureau of Investigation — under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover — used improved scientific means to determine those responsible.
A little discussed and very disturbing mystery is brought into the light by David Grann. Although the Indian wars were supposedly over by the late 1800s, the desire to take anything of value away from native peoples did not disappear. Whether through the use of “guardianships” or by murder, the Osage would not be allowed to keep their new-found wealth.
— Reviewed by Harriet Leitch
‘The Dinner Party’
Joshua Ferris has proven himself a master of the short story as well as the novel. The short stories in here are a delight to read. Each story has comic undertones and characters you won’t soon forget. Multiple stories focus on marital relationships. In one, a husband’s philandering has become known on the same night that his in-laws are visiting. In another, a husband is convinced that his wife has left him when she didn’t promptly return from getting bagels. In “More Abandon,” an office worker confesses his love to a coworker in a series of after-hours voicemails, totaling 15 minutes. He immediately regrets it and tries to intercept the messages. He then uses his time alone in the office to switch the pigs that decorate one coworker’s office with the pictures of a deceased daughter in another. He ends up borrowing yet another coworker’s workout gear to play racquetball before passing out on a couch, only to be woken up when people arrive for work the next day. If you are not laughing while reading this book, someone should check your pulse.
— Reviewed by Hunter Gillum