As I sip my cup of chai tea and nibble away at my date square (not homemade, but no less delicious, since it was purchased at City Café Bakery, YUM!), I am not contemplating what I’ve been reading lately, because I haven’t finished a single novel since Fifth Business, which was more than a week ago. I’m a bit disappointed about that, as I hate wasting valuable reading time, but I’m hoping for better luck this week.
I have been trying to read several books to review for the local paper. One of them, Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, is told from the point of view of Maud, an elderly woman suffering Alzheimer’s who is certain her friend, Elizabeth, is missing, although she has been assured repeatedly by her daughter that Elizabeth is fine. She therefore sets out to solve the mystery, and also discover, along the way, what happened to her sister, who disappeared many years ago, shortly after WWII. Armed with handwritten notes, Maud’s search leads her deeper into the past to discover the truth about these disappearances. This sounds like an awesome book, exactly the type I enjoy – family secrets, long-buried mysteries, lone amateur sleuths resolved to discovering the truth. But the character is too far gone with Alzheimer’s to be left living on her own, and I was finding the narrative to be too repetitive and depressing – I wanted to find a spot in a long-term care facility for Maud myself! It reminded me quite a lot of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, (remember, the main character was trying to solve the mystery of “Who killed Wellington?”) but less humourous, more depressing. It got great reviews, though, so maybe I should give it another go.
Then I tried reading Us Conductors by Sean Michaels for my committee. This novel tells the story of real-life Russian inventor Lev Termen, who created the theremin, a device which can create music by waving one’s arms (arms as antennae to probe electrical fields for melody). Set in the early 20th century, this novel follows Lev from Russia to New York, where he is unwittingly used as an infiltrator and spy for the Russian government. It explores such themes as history and politics, love, music, artists and performers, science, and what it meant to be a stranger in a strange land at that time in history. I wanted to love this book, and I was really enjoying it, but then I wasn’t. I think it is written too much like historical fiction, very descriptive, which is not the type of book I normally enjoy. So I will set this one aside and hope for something that really grabs me.
It’s a really busy time at work right now, so I think what I need, in terms of reading material, is a fast-paced book that is all about plot, not so much about character development. In two weeks, though, I will be off for the summer, so I’m hoping to have more reading time and can get to all those “slow” books that I want to finish but haven’t had the patience for.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great men out there!
Bye for now…