Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Novel Publicity Blog Tour: Bluff


"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”

Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed

Wow! I have to admit that Bluff was the best book I read in 2012. I know that I started a lot of reviews saying that the books were the best. But Bluff really hits the top spot. What you get when you pick up this book is nothing less than a slap in the face with a concept that will floor you, and a story filled with an amazing cast of intertwined characters.

This book is not an easy read by any means. It is real, gritty and honest. It combines a host of issues from child abuse and rape to medical ethics. It is extremely detailed and impeccably written. I really hope this book gets the accolades and awards it so richly deserves.  The premise alone is timely, a grownup read that demands more from the reader.

When Jude is found barely alive at the bottom of a Bluff along Lake Erie no one knows her story or how she got there. A virtual loner who expects nothing from life, the only person who shows up at the hospital to claim her is her best friend Francis. Who drops the bombshell that Jude is pregnant. No one knows who the father is, and no one knows why she was on the bluff that day either. All they know is that Jude is in a coma and unlikely to pull out of it. 

Here is where Lenore Skomal pulls a twist on us, the narration changes from Francis to Jude herself. Jude is trapped in her comatose body, unable to communicate, but one hundred percent able to know what's going on around her.  She feels every needle prick, the breathing tube being inserted and the shunt being put in her brain. She worries about her baby, theorizes on her life and adds commentary when we need it. 

Through the constant switching of POV, Skomal allows us to see the story from all angles. From Jude herself, her friend,her estranged sister and the medical staff, their lives all connect in ways one can not fathom. And sets up a series of events that will change everyone. I am amazed at how seamlessly and easy these transitions flow. I never once got lost at who was speaking or even befuddled by the ever growing cast of characters. That is how good Skomal is.

The range of emotions she address and the tragedy of events open up questions to us.  How we perceive the end of life. How we define the beginning of life. Who we trust, who we really know, and who gets to play God. We do know for sure that Jude wants to see her pregnancy through and live until her baby is born. She sees it as the last act she can do that will redeem her place in the  world.  But who gets to speak for Jude? Who can really make that decision? And we as readers know that Jude is feeling it all. 

To me that is the most frighting question of this book. When does life end? I find it extremely scary that someone can be trapped aware in their own mind and others are ready to write them off. We see these cases in the news. We hear the arguments over life sustaining measures and who gets to "pull the plug".   How do we know where consciousnesses lies? That crazy gray area of defining life.  This book left me shell shocked.

I guess I have intentionally left out some major plot points, I was afraid I would give away too many spoilers.  I tend to do that with books I love. I have read three great works of literary fiction this year. Charlender's Walk, The Angry Woman's Suite and now Bluff. Bluff is my star, It made me cry, it tortured me with it's honesty and rawness. It is my pick for book of the year. 


Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff?

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.

  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
  3. About the author: Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, 18 books published, a daily blog and weekly newspaper column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message.

    Connect with Lenore on her website,  Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

    Get Bluff on Amazon.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    1. Love your review! BLUFF sounds great.. can't wait to try it!

    2. Thank you so much!!! It really is a fantastic book. Did you try and win a copy???

    3. Oh wow, Rebecca. I'm so glad you connected with Bluff in this way. Your review makes it sound a little like one of my favorite novels, The Cider House Rules by John Irving--except that book deals with the beginning of life instead of the end of it. The two would probably make great companion reads!

      Thanks, as always, for being an enthusiastic tour host, and please don't forget to cross-post your review!


      1. All set. I cross posted that night to Amazon and Goodreads. Thanks so much Emlyn for bringing this book to my attention.

    4. Thanks, Rebecca, for taking the time to read and review my book. I appreciate your comments and your passionate endorsement! I can't wait to get the sequel to you! Blessings! Lenore Skomal

      1. There is a sequel??? Can not wait to read it. I have to tell ya you broke my heart with this one, in a good way. Amazing!!!!

    5. thanks for doing this giveaway! i bought Bluff a few days ago and added it to my long list of 'to-read' but your review actually just put it on my short list! can't wait to start it soon :)

    6. Yay.. glad to hear it. It will stick with you long after you read it. Have you read In Leah's Wake, if you like this one you will love that one.Thanks so much for the comment Heather :)

    7. This is such a great review and I totally agree with everything you said. It is such a grand read, so powerful and emotional and it really makes you question so many things. Thanks for sharing the review with us! :)

    8. Your so welcome, thanks for your kind words. This is one of those book that is hard to put into words.