Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bourgeois Marriage to Serial Murder -- My Reading Has Range!

I've been doing very well with Holds I've placed on books from the Vancouver Public Library. A bit too well, really, and I'm currently reading madly through a Pico Iyer travel memoir (five reading days left on this before the due date), a book of essays (ditto), and a second Pico Iyer memoir of life in Japan. . . .
Something in this passage from Tessa Hadley's Late in the Day resonates with me, captures something of the evolving gender dynamics of my own long marriage, however different that is from the fictional couple's being described.

And the library has just emailed to let me know that my time on the e-copy of Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher thriller is in, and I see they've posted on my account the little Truck icon that means another Hold book is on its way. Yikes! Never rains, but it pours (which it has also been doing here in Vancouver but that's another embarrassment of riches. . .
I had to share this page for the droll humour of that last line. Grace is the daughter of the man whose death initiates the novel's action, and she's long had a crush on her good friend's older half-brother -- who likes her very much  and admires her undeniable beauty but isn't attracted to her physically. Grace, in this passage, is far too drunk for anyone's good.

Before I go back to turn the last 75 pages of The Lady and the Monk, here are my Reading Journal pages from library Holds that arrived in January: Tessa Hadley's Late in the Day (above, and first paragraph below) and Val McDermid's How the Dead Speak, below (I posted a few words and photo of this one here.  Remember, I'm not trying to write a review here, but rather to make enough notes that I can recall something of the book later.


So I know these aren't comprehensive nor even satisfying reports (never mind the frustrating scrawl), but ask me questions or share your own responses if you've read either book.

I will say that I heartily recommend Hadley's complex, subtle, novel of manners, of friendship, of bereavement, of marriage, the sustaining power of art -- as I would her earlier novel The Past which I wrote a bit about here. A good article about the writer and Late in the Day here.

And I recommend the McDermid mystery as well, although if you haven't read the rest of the series, go start at the beginning with The Mermaids Singing. And if you don't like graphic and gruesome in the mix, skip the series entirely. These are not your British "cosies.". . .

Now, over to you. . . .

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading the Val McDermid book as I found the ending of the last one I read quite shocking! "Late in the Day"sounds good too. Right now I'm reading "City of Girls." On your recommendation I gave it to a good friend for Christmas (she loved it!) and now she has loaned it to me, as I was hoping! I've also found an Icelandic series that looks promising by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. As is my wont I've started in the middle of the series, so I'll have to go back and read the earlier books.
Frances in Sidney

materfamilias said...

Frances: I, too, was shocked by the end of the last volume of this series. . . I won't say much about this one for fearing of spoiling, but I think you'll be convinced and pleased to see what happens to Tony and Carol's relationship.
So glad your friend loved City of Girls, and I hope you do as well. . . . And I'll have to check out that Iceland Noir series. You know, because I haven't anything else to read ;-)