The Scent of Pine
by Lara Vapnyar
At first I thought this story would be weird. A middle-aged woman takes a ride with a stranger, and recounts her history as a camp counselor in Russia? What?
But I was wrong! It was an intricate tale stressing the importance of both random chance and mistaken assumptions, with a surprising twist at the end. Plus I’ve always loved novels set in Russia (I read Crime and Punishment in high school, which started it all).
I finished The Scent of Pine in the car when I was stopped for two hours waiting for an accident to clear, so when I returned home I started Legend of the Free State of Jones. One of my kittens – Buster – decided I made a pretty comfortable mattress, and fell asleep right on top of me!