Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mapping the Edge

by Sarah Dunant

I love the title of this book, Mapping the Edge - it suggests travel, boundaries, being on the edge, taking the next step, learning something new about yourself - your life, your loves, your needs, your desires.  The title could fit so many different stories and I was anxious to know the one told in this book.  And isn't the cover lovely?

I found myself more than a little confused for the first half of the book.  At one point (around page 60) I was thinking of setting it aside but I'm glad I kept reading.  I love a book that pushes the boundaries of a traditionally written, linear novel.   

Mapping the Edge covers a period of only a few days but it switches narrators.  One of the 3 story lines is told by the disappearing woman's best friend so it has a personal, thoughtful perspective.  The other 2 story lines are told from the 3rd person point of view and provide the reader with an ever expanding view of 2 possible scenarios as to why Anna didn't show up at home when she was expected.

I love a book that shouts at me to pick it up and to keep reading.  The questions whirring around and needing to be answered kept me reading.  Each of the possible disappearance scenarios served up a couple of  interesting twists that added increased interest.  I'd like to say that the ending answered all my questions, but it didn't.  I closed the book thinking that everything had been resolved completely, but after a day I think the ending was as it should be.

I loved this book but I won't be suggesting it for my f2f book club.  I can just see the looks, the same ones I got at the discussion for The History of Love.   One lady said I had a weird taste in books and wasn't I the one who also recommended The Poisonwood Bible?  Add this one to the list and I'd probably get booted out.  That doesn't mean I'm not recommending it to my blog readers.  Just remember that you may need to push yourself beyond the first 60-80 pages.  After that I think you'll get pulled in and swept along with the story.

One passage out of several that I book darted:
I've become more aware of time passing recently.  Not the day-to-dayness of it, but the bigger, structural stuff.  Sometimes I have a sense of great chunks of my life floating, like space debris, in slow motion around me:  three- or four-year bits that have got detached from the space station and can't be recovered.  There goes twenty-two to twenty-six, passing so close I can almost touch it.  Then a little further off I see my late twenties/early thrities turning over and over in zero gravity.  Maybe I should reel it in and work a little revisionism on it.  But then I think, Why bother?  It's done already, over, all the possibilities hardened into choices, of no interest now except as history. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Stone's Fall

by Ian Pears

My first foray into Stone's work was when I stood on my tiptoes to reach a fat book with an interesting title from a top shelf at the library.  An Instance of the Fingerpost proved to be worth the stretch so when I saw this hefty book by Pears I didn't have to be cajoled into reading it.

Stone's Fall has 3 different narrators who try to unravel the mystery of a wealthy magnate's death.  I enjoyed this book immensely,  Pears is a masterful storyteller, although the ending was a bit contrived the rest of the story was engaging.  The parts dealing with the high-priced madame were especially interesting and provided interesting insights into the business of making money.

A Fatal Grace/ Dead Cold

by Louise Penny

Louise Penny is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely love her Inspector Gamache series.  I listened to this book with Candleman on a trip to southern Utah in Nov.  It was not his choice but he ended up loving it.

This is book 2 in the series.  I'm sure it is advisable to read this series in order especially to follow the continuing story of Gmache's enemies in the force.  Unfortunately, I've been reading them out of order and don't feel like it's detracted from the storyline too much.

I love coming back to this fictitious village just south of Montreal and reconnecting with the people.  They are real, flawed and multi-dimensional - just the type I would love to have for neighbors.  Most of them, anyway.  The setting makes me long to visit that area again.  It reminds me a a beautiful little town called Knowlton we visited that is real and is located just south of Montreal.  Absolutely picturesque and filled with charm.  That's how I think of Three Pines.

The mystery is complex and was hard for me to solve.  One of the things I like best about Penny's books is the wisdom sprinkled throughout.  I am going to need to reread this one so I can book dart those many passages I loved while listening to it.

If you haven't picked up one of these books in the Armand Gamache series, I highly recommend you do.  Start with Still Life.

A Fatal Grace is the title used in the U.S.  Elsewhere it goes by Dead Cold.  Why they can't use the same title is beyond me...