The Family Album, by Penelope Lively: This was one of three novels I grabbed off the new releases shelf at the library last weekend. Interestingly enough, they were all somewhat similar in that they were all very “reader-istic.” (That word is a bastardization of “pianistic,” a term pianists use to describe music which seems perfectly suited to the instrument. Perhaps all instrumentalists use similar terminology…violinistic, trumpetistic – sorry, I digress.) But The Family Album, like all the novels of Lively’s which I’ve read, has a spare simplicity of tone and design that fits this reader to a “t.” This novel about a large family living in the English countryside was indeed like looking through the pages of an album, each image rendered in loving detail and revealing a multitude of information about the characters.
Next up was Losing Charlotte, the debut novel by Heather Clay. Another family saga (you all know how I love those) about a young woman who dies in childbirth and the way her family picks up the pieces. The reader meets Charlotte in retrospect, and mostly through memories of her husband, parents, and younger sister. And while those circumstances would tend to guarantee our sympathy for her, in truth I really didn’t like her all that much. Interesting twist on what could be a hackneyed story, and very well written.
I’m nearing the end of the third of my library finds, Season of Water and Ice, by Donald Lystra, a fellow Michigander. The book is set in northern Michigan, in 1957, and is a poignant coming of age tale of a young man living in the country with his father following the sudden departure of his mother. The writing is simple yet elegant, the pacing perfectly measured like a walk through the woods on a crisp fall day. Very nicely done.
Coming up ~ The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Belong to Me, and a couple of review books which arrived in my mailbox yesterday, both of which I’m quite excited about. The first is The Hungry Mirror, by Lisa de Nikolits. This novel, from Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series out of York University in Toronto, is a “gripping tale of fractured self-esteem…a ride on the psychological and emotional roller coaster that is anorexia and bulimia.” Also, The Great Lover, by Jill Dawson, a fictionalized account of the romance between Nell Golightly, a 16 year old housemaid, and the poet Rupert Brooke.
So there’s what’s on my Bookstack these days.
What’s on yours?