Wednesday 11 May 2011

Wednesday's book thoughts...

It's Wednesday morning, and I'm trying a new tea that was sent to me accidentally when I received my online tea order in the mail last week.  Not sure whether I'll like it, but, like a new book, you can't know if you'll like it or not without trying it (just don't feel obligated to finish the whole cup!)

I'm nearly finished The Red Thread by Ann Hood.  As I got further into the novel, I was thinking of other books I've read that are similar to this.  It definitely reminds me of The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg in terms of story and style, although Hood's novel is more complex.  It also reminds me of Maeve Binchy's novels, in that there are many characters whose stories are interwoven by one common link; in Hood's novel, the link is Maya and the Red Thread Adoption Agency.  These novels are all what I would call "light" novels, in that they explore complex situations in ways that are not in-depth, more surface treatments.  Perhaps this is because they involve so many stories that it would take much more than 300 pages to give in-depth explorations of each story.  Perhaps it is also the intent of the author to only offer most of her characters as one- or two-dimensional so that the reader focuses on, or identifies with the main character, who is usually presented in a more complex, three-dimensional way.  I can think of at least two Binchy novels that use this technique of bringing many stories together by one common link, Nights of Rain and Stars and Tara Road, both novels which I have read and enjoyed in the past. 

The Red Thread, with its "light" treatment of complex issues for a number of characters and stories, is in direct contrast to Valerie Martin's Trespass, which I am listening to as an audiobook.  Trespass presents an intense exploration of the relationship between two university students, Toby, an American, and Salome, a Croatian, and the tension this relationship causes for Toby's family.  While at first it appears to be simply a study of their domestic situation, I suspect that the family tensions are going to run deeper and become more political.  There is a darker, sharper edge to Martin's work than Hood's novel.  I said above that Hood's novel was "light", and I meant it as in the opposite of "heavy" or "deep".  Perhaps it can also be used as the opposite of "dark".  I would use the terms "heavy", "deep" and "dark" to describe Martin's novel.

My personal preference for reading materials, when I'm in the mood for such a novel, is for the "dark", "heavy" and "deep" type.  When I read what I would call "psychological fiction", I expect to find serious character exploration and development.  The Red Thread doesn't have that, but I've now invested enough time in it, and it's an easy enough read, that I will finish it.  But I will not pick up another of her books anytime soon.  If I want this type of "light" reading, I'll stick to Maeve Binchy.

Bye for now!

1 comment:

  1. I love Elizabeth Berg novels. I may just have to read this Ann Hood novel =)