October 11th, 2011

book and cup

#99 The Echoing Grove - Rosamond Lehmann (1953)

Two sisters: Madeleine and Dinah. One husband: Rickie Masters. For many years now, Dinah, exotic and sensual, has conducted a clandestine affair with Rickie. Madeleine, calm and resolute, has accepted that her marriage has been of limited success. Rickie's sudden death makes widows of both sisters in this highly imaginative novel that explores with extraordinary insight the sublimity, the rivalry and the pain of personal relationships.

I have come to really like Rosamond Lehmann's novels, and although this won't be my favourite of her books, it is an accomplished beautifully written novel. The central characters Madeleine, Dinah and Rickie are each given a voice, and as the narrative weaves back and forth in time, we see the complexties of thier relationship through their eyes. None of these characters are totally sympathetic, there is no victim - they each bear some responsibility in what happens. This novel certainly differs greatly to An invitation to the waltz or The Weather in the Streets, it is darker and more meloncholic, her characters deeply flawed. I did find the final third of the novel a tiny bit tedious - not helped by my tiredness - but I had loved the first half of the book particularly, Rosamond Lehmann's writing is brilliant. This is a complex novel about human relationships.

Books 116-125

Highland Bride by Hannah Howell
My Wicked Vampire by Nina Bangs
American Vampire (4/5) by Scott Synder
Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
God's Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker
Beauty and the Beast by Marie le Prince de Beaumont
Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
how to (un)cage a girl by Francesca Lia Block
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

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Books 18-19

Title: Tortilla Curtain
Author: T.C. Boyle
Themes/Topics: Immigration, Nature, Human Spirit

Tortilla Curtain is a great novel, but a tough one to get through.  It tackles the difficult and complex social issue of immigration and shines a light on the dark side of humanity.  It is uncomfortable but Boyle has a gift for storytelling and pacing that makes this a compelling read.  It's a great book for a book club because it provides for a lot of discussion. It is the first novel I've read of his, but I will definitely be reading more.

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Themes/Topics: Fantasy, Family, Destiny

Go quickly to a bookstore/your kindle/nook and GET THIS BOOK!  Seriously.  It is a great and fantastic story, and now on the list of my favorites.  It is a strange and arresting book, and I've never read anything quite like it.  I don't want to say much because I won't give anything away, but I think this book is perfect from beginning to end.