Sunday 30 March 2014

Books and tea on a Spring-ish Sunday morning...

Well, the sun is out, and it’s supposed to reach a high of 4 degrees today, so I guess it’s sort of Spring-like.  I’m even going to hang some laundry outside today, although I’m not sure if that’s merely over-optimism or outright insanity on my part!  Anyway, that’s for later in the day.  For now, I will concentrate on books… and of course, my cup of tea.
I am more than halfway through that thick novel I mentioned last week, the one I was going to read for review, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker.  It is over 600 pages, but it’s so gripping that I had a hard time putting it down most nights last week.  With just under 300 pages left to go, I think I will have to put it aside in order to read my next book club selection before my group meets on Saturday.  Since I’m over halfway through the novel, though, I feel it’s safe to give you a bit of info about the plot so far.  Marcus Goldman is a young New York writer with a bestseller under his belt, achieved before he turned 30.  Facing prolonged writer’s block, he turns to his friend and mentor, writer Harry Quebert, for support, and is invited out to Harry’s seaside home in Somerset for some R&R.  Shortly thereafter, Harry is arrested for the murder of Nola Kellergen, a young girl who has been dead for over 30 years, and whose body has recently been discovered buried in Harry’s back yard.  Marcus returns to Somerset in order to support Harry and to find the truth about what happened that night so many years ago, as well as the events leading up to Nola’s murder.  He discovers that during the summer of 1975, 34-year old Harry fell in love with 15-year old Nola, and planned to leave town with her at the end of the summer.  He also discovers that Nola, and Harry’s forbidden love for her, were the inspiration for Harry’s career-defining novel, The Origin of Evil.  As Marcus investigates people and events in and around Somerset in 1975, he uncovers truths and cover-ups that lead him deeper and deeper into a world he could never have imagined.   This novel is proving to be many things for this reader.  It is an exploration of a writer’s life, with all its struggles and triumphs.  It is also a murder mystery, but from the perspective of a writer (it felt a bit like reading about Truman Capote investigating and then writing In Cold Blood, except that this is not “true crime”).  This book also satirizes American culture, and small-town mentality, reminding me of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.  But when I first began the novel, I thought of Paul Auster, particularly his New York trilogy and The Music of Chance, where all is not what it seems, and the main character, who seems to be both smart and reliable, is at once taken advantage of and used as a pawn in a much larger and more ominous game.  You can see how this novel could be completely gripping for me, and although I think it is overlong, I’m going to have a hard time putting it aside to read Property by Valerie Martin for next Saturday. 

With the weather improving and the sun coming out more often, I both hope and fear that the number of “good days to stay inside reading” are going to be diminishing as March turns into April and then May.  Maybe I should get a really comfortable outdoor chair so I can sit outside under the large maple tree in the backyard and read for hours.  Hmm… add that to the wish list…

Bye for now!

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