Monday 20 February 2023

Long weekend post on another sunny late-afternoon…

It’s been a gorgeous weekend so far, great for walking and hanging out laundry (I have sheets out there being kissed by the sun right now).  There’s actually a word for that:  apricity means “the warmth of the sun on a chilly day” (Word Perfect, Susie Dent).

I read a very strange, very disturbing, very curious book this past week, Just Like Home by author Sarah Gailey.  I loved, loved, loved Gailey's previous novel, The Echo Wife, and when I was at the big library Super Conference a few weeks ago, I saw at one of the vendor stalls that there was a new book by this amazing author.  Well, I must have gushed about Gailey sufficiently for the woman to whom I was gushing to suggest that I come back after 2pm and I could have the display copy, as they wanted to bring back as few books as possible.  I read it this past week and found it to be extremely well-written, incredibly compelling, but completely different in storyline and genre to The Echo Wife, and not necessarily in a good way.   Just Like Home is a darkly gothic thriller that opens with thirty-year-old Vera returning to the house that she swore she would never return to, called home by her dying mother, a woman from whom she’s been estranged since she was forced out of the house at the age of seventeen.  Her father, who was the only one who loved her, has died in prison, a convicted serial killer to whom Vera still has strong feelings of love and loyalty.  Since leaving, her mother has rented out the shed to visiting artists and authors, and one neighbour wrote a book about the Crowder scandal, a book that brought much interest to the house and kept Vera’s mother Daphne solvent with individuals interested in taking a piece of the fame with them.  Vera went away but was never really able to escape the house, the memories and the perversely loving clutches of her dead father, so returning to the Crowder house, the house that her father built with his own two hands to keep her safe, felt just like coming home, except for the dying Daphne...  oh, and the lodger/artist staying in the shed, the son of the man who wrote the book about the murders.  Can Vera come to terms with the thing that is haunting the house (is there really something haunting the house?) before she loses her own sanity, or will the memories and shadows claim her before she can escape?  This was one strange novel, one that I kept hoping would be redeemed at the end when everything would make sense, but alas, I didn’t find that this was the case.  It really was well-written, somewhat too descriptive and dragging in parts, but the text was compelling and kept me hoping for a moment of clarity when all would be revealed, but this unfortunately did not happen.  I found it very disappointing and I can’t think of anyone to whom I would recommend this book.  Maybe I was expecting something different, so I guess if you like graphic gothic novels in which the houses breathe and live along with the depraved characters, this might be a good book for you.  I’m hoping that the next book I pick up will prove to be a better selection for me.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy the rest of your Family Day weekend!

Bye for now…

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