Friday, 19 July 2019

Early post on another hot day...

It’s incredibly hot and humid already, and it’s only 9:30am!  The forecast indicates that we should expect the same into the weekend before it cools down early next week.  One of the benefits of this, however, is that I went out early this morning while it was still cool-ish to purchase a delicious Date Bar in preparation for this post, and it is even more delicious than usual.  This may be because I usually buy it on Saturday and eat it on Sunday morning, so this one is fresher and moister than ever - YUM!  
My schedule is all messed up, too, as I was away last week, home this week, and will be away again next week, so you’re getting two posts in a relatively short time, then there will be a lull before the next post.  Since I’m off for the summer and it’s been so hot this week, I’ve stayed in quite a bit and have had lots of time to read. I started a book with a stunningly beautiful cover, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, but the serious themes and descriptive writing in tn this book deserve to be savoured on a cooler, more comfortable day when I have the time and can really focus and enjoy the language and the storytelling, so I put it away for another day.  I’m planning to have a yard sale later this summer, so I’ve been going through my bookshelves to see what I could add to my already-large selection of books to sell. I came across one that was a freebie from either the big book sale I go to (“fill a box for $10) or the big library conference I go to every winter.  I’m not a huge fan of the novels of award-winning, bestselling Canadian writer Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers, but I have a copy of French Exit, which has a very appealing cover, so I thought I would give it a try.  I’ve tried reading Undermajordomo Minor in the past, but the storyline was too strange for my liking and I stopped without finishing.  I think deWitt favours a style that leans towards the absurd, no, it absolutely is absurd, dark comedies that do not really appeal to my taste as a reader.  This one is no exception, but it may be his most “normal” or “mainstream” so far.  This novel tells the story of Frances and Malcolm Price, mother and son who, since the death of father and husband Franklin, have managed to run through their substantial wealth while doing absolutely nothing of any value for society.  They also have an elderly cat, Small Frank, who lives with them in their apartment in New York, although neither of them likes the cat. As we find out later, Frances believes that the spirit of her dead husband lives on in Small Frank, and she both wishes to get rid of him and feels obligated to care for him in this incarnation as she did not do at the end of his corrupt, immoral life as a man.  When Frances realizes that they have nothing left, she sells everything and moves herself and Malcolm to an apartment in Paris owned by her good friend, Joan. There she executes a two-part plan, the details about which only she knows. The eclectic cast of characters we meet in this novel includes Malcolm’s fiancée, Susan, a level-headed young woman who, for some bizarre reason, is in love with Malcolm, a man who seems to have never moved beyond adolescence, despite being in his early thirties.  There is also Mme Reynard, a lonely woman who attaches herself to the pair in Paris; Madeleine, the fortuneteller they met on the ship; Julius, a shy private investigator whose services they employ; and many others. This “tragedy of manners” was easy to read, and I’m sure that it probably deserves a deeper consideration than my two days of reading afforded, but the story was too bizarre for me to reread it and ponder the significance of this or that occurrence.  It was OK, and now I can say that I’ve actually finished reading something by this Canadian author, but I can’t think of anyone I would recommend it to. This is not to say that I don’t recognize or appreciate deWitt’s skill and talent as a writer, just that I don’t enjoy the type of novels he writes. Still, if you are a fan of his work, you should enjoy this one as well, at least according to the reviews.
That’s all for today.  Since I’m staying inside due to the heat, I plan to go through the piles of books set aside for “discard consideration” from my own collections, then settle down for an afternoon of reading with my next, hopefully good, book.  Stay cool and keep reading!
Bye for now…
Julie

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