Book Sequels That Are Worth The Read

When discussing books it is often claimed that the sequel is never as good as the original. Unlike authors who plan a long running narrative over a series of books, the continuation of an original self-contained story can sometimes feel unnecessary or (at worst) a poor attempt to cash in on the success of the first work. While there certainly are follow-ups that fail to capture the elements which made their predecessor so captivating, there are also many sequels that match, and sometimes even exceed, the quality of the book they are continuing the narrative of. Check out some of these literary follow-ups from the Windsor Public Library.

 

Enon by Paul Harding (sequel to Tinkers)

This melancholic sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning Tinkers follows Charlie Crosby (grandson to Tinkers’ central character George Washington Crosby) who must deal with the tragic death of his young daughter. Harding depicts a devastating portrait of Crosby’s self-destructive behaviour following his loss, but contrasts this with rich descriptions of the pastoral landscape and history of the titular community. Written with deft prose and an elegiac tone, Enon is a stunning portrait of human suffering, joy and the loving bond between father and daughter.

Closing Time by Joseph Heller (sequel to Catch-22)

Returning to the characters of the ferociously satirical Catch-22, Heller’s Closing Time depicts reluctant World War II veterans John Yossarian, Milo Mindbender and Chaplain Tappman near the end of their lives in New York City. As the new century looms ahead, the characters reflect not only on their pasts but on the current state of their country, allowing Heller a chance to satirize the absurdities and myths of post WWII America. The humour of Closing Time is just as vicious and as it were in Catch-22, showing Heller had just as poignant observations to make on modern American culture as he did thirty years before.

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (sequel to Three Day Road)

This Giller Prize winning novel follows the lineage of Xavier Bird, the WWI Cree sniper of Boyden’s acclaimed Three Day Road. Annie Bird has just returned from a dangerous journey to sit at the bedside of her uncle William, a pilot now lying in a coma in his hometown of Moose Factory, Ontario. Divided between the two character’s narratives, the novel reveals their separate arduous stories, Will coping with a tragedy that took his family’s lives and Annie’s perilous journey to find her missing sister. From dangerous Ontario backwoods through decadent Manhattan parties, the characters’ stories intertwine to build a saga about family, betrayal and community. A powerful novel from one of Canada’s most gifted writers.

‘Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (sequel to Angela’s Ashes)

Following directly where the Pulitzer Prize winning Angela’s Ashes left off, ‘Tis recounts McCourt’s young adult life after immigrating back from his impoverished home in Ireland to his birthplace of New York City.  Now an awkward 19-year-old with a “pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth,” McCourt embarks on a journey of self-realization, his path taking him through grueling dead-end jobs, enrolment in the military and studies at New York University. A work of stunning prose, McCourt displays his ability to bring beauty and grace to even the most despairing of events, producing a worthy successor to his renowned debut. Also recommended is McCourt’s follow-up memoir, Teacher Man, which depicts his experience as an educator in New York.

Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (sequel to Alice in Wonderland)

As much a classic of children’s literature as its predecessor, Lewis Carroll’s seminal nonsensical story of young Alice’s journey into a strange land has been the source of numerous adaptations for film and stage since its original publication in 1871. This fantastical book introduced iconic characters like the White Queen, the portly twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee (who tell the tale of the Walrus and the Carpenter) and the vicious Jabberwocky. Alice Through the Looking Glass is timeless tale celebrating imagination, fantasy and the love of language.

All of these titles are currently available at the Windsor Public Library. Come into your local branch to check out one of these sensational sequels.

 

 

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