On this lovely, cool, sunny Friday morning, I’m sitting with my steaming cup of chai tea and thinking about the book I finished reading last night. I’m posting today rather than my usual Sunday morning time because my brother-in-law and his kids are coming to stay for the weekend, so while this is going to be a busy day and the post will be short, this is the best time to write.
I just finished reading Hidden by Catherine McKenzie, a Canadian author who grew up in Montreal. The novel begins when Jeff Manning is hit by a car on his way home from work one Friday evening and dies. Two women are devastated by this event, his wife Claire and his co-worker Tish. As the story unfolds, using three alternating narrators, Jeff, Tish and Claire, the reader is offered glimpses into the relationships between Jeff and these two women, and the affair that may or may not have taken place. As the lives of these two women come together, and details of their families and relationships are revealed, the author maintains a sense of the surreal that keeps the reader from knowing quite what is going on. The chapters segue nicely into one another, one taking up where the other left off, albeit from another character’s point of view, and it all comes together in a very satisfying ending. It made this reader wonder if it is true that, as the title suggests, some things are, indeed, best left hidden. I tried last year to read an earlier novel by this author, Forgotten, but it was not really my style, too light and “chick-lit”-ish for me to get into it, but this one really surprised me - I was hooked from the very first page and held in suspense until the end. It reminded me a bit of Harrison’s The Silent Wife in a few different ways: both were told from alternating points of view, both had a sense of the surreal, and both kept me feeling as if there were more to the story than I was being told. While The Silent Wife was more a literary and sophisticated read, Hidden was more accessible, offering a story that was maybe easier to identify with for the average reader. It was definitely a book that would appeal to a female audience, and while it lacked a certain depth, I would definitely recommend this title.
And I’m just downloading audio versions of John Le Carre’s A Murder of Quality and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Books 2 & 3 of the “George Smiley” series. I won’t listen to them right away, as I’ve started listening to a mystery by Peter Lovesey, Diamond Solitaire, the second in the “Peter Diamond” series (I’m also just downloading the first in this series). I’ve never read anything by this British mystery writer, but I’m enjoying this novel very much. More on that one when I reach the end. Oh, so many (audio)books, so little time…!
Speaking of so little time, I’ve got a full day ahead of me, so I’ll close for now. Enjoy your weekend!
Bye for now…