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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
At Mrs Lippincote's - Valerie Martin, Elizabeth Taylor I've been reading a lot of British domestic fiction written during and about the 1930s and 40s lately and it's interesting to see how different people handle wartime relationships in Britain. I sort of liked this book, but I didn't love it. I found the characters difficult to like and the ambience unremittingly negative. All the characters, from the unhappy wife to the seething live-in cousin to the aging restauranteur see their environment as oppressive. Even the young child in the family sees everything in dreary, deathly terms; netball posts are gallows, people watching games roar savagely, and his neighborhood looks dead "like the photograph in a newspaper of a road where murder has been committed...who has not walked in the madness of oppression down such roads?" Grown-up thoughts for someone who seems about 7. On the other hand, I like books in which dysfunctional relationships are examined; what is said and, more revealing, what is left unsaid. I was compelled by the high-quality writing to keep reading about these people who can't see the bright side of anything. I could have done without the subplot about the socialist group, but I liked the story of the husband and wife, trapped in a relationship neither enjoys and lacking the skills or the desire to love one another.