After stumbling over weighty tomes, I struck gold recently-not once but three books in a row.
After reading The Highest Tide, Jim Lynch's first book, and enjoying the setting, the characters and the story arc, I knew that I would want to read his next one. First: I bought Border Songs, set in the dairy country around Lynden and Sumas, Washington, where there is very little indication about which country-Canada or the US- you happen to be standing in. The hero (of sorts) is a six foot eight dyslexic bird watching Border Patrol newbie who is supposed to be the barrier to stop narcotics and aliens out of the country. As a writer, I want to read about fullblown, rounded characters who drive a story. You get that in Jim Lynch's novels.
Next, I read Jane Hardam's Old Filth, about a retired judge looking back on his life. This is a really shallow description, though. Have you ever heard of the orphans of the Raj? The most famous, I suppose, was Rudyard Kipling. They were children whose parents lived in the farflung British Empire. They were sent "home", that is back to England to be raised by relatives or people who were paid to look after them.The judge is a product of the sort of brutality that many of these children endured. He comes home with his wife and bit by bit we're told about his past.
I'm on the waiting list for the next book, told from his wife's poiny of view.
The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver's latest, tells of another man's life, the son of a man who wants nothing to do with him (shades of the poor judge in Old Filth!) and a mother who is always looking for the next rich man to support her. Harrison Shepherd, mostly raised in Mexico, becomes part of the ent ourage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and at the ppoint I'm reading now, works of Trotsky. I plan to spend as good part of my Sunday finishing it, because....
Waiting in the Wings:
Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves and Alison Weir's new book about Ann Bolyn.
Next Friday we discuss Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I've read it once, a couple of years ago. There was an awful movie made from the book, but it left out a lot. The book is a great look at the role of women in the late 18th Century, and a well written biography.