Posts tagged with ‘memoir’
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes
A beautiful memoir by a talented writer. Every page was thoughtfully and skillfully written. After Brockes’ mother Paula dies, Brockes starts to investigate the mysteries of Paula’s childhood. Why did Paula leave South Africa for London? What is the story of her relationship to her father and her siblings? Brockes’ father warns her before she leaves for South Africa that she might discover things she wish she hadn’t found out. There is much in this book about the complexities of family relationships and the fragile fault lines that separate relatives in the wake of tragedy, but there is also an abundance of information about South Africa and its history. It occasionally reads like a travel memoir…which I guess it sort of is. The descriptions of the book call it suspenseful. I wouldn’t call it suspenseful. The high drama of the cover art and the title hide the quieter truth of the story—that this is basically a love letter to her mother.
Have you read it?
The Astor Orphan by Alexandra Aldrich
A little hard to get into (the Astor family tree is ridiculous and Aldrich, wisely, does not dwell on it for too long), but it turns into an entertaining short read about a once-monied family trying to make it in a decaying 43-room mansion and not quite succeeding. Aldrich wrote vivid recollections of her childhood and she inserted enough bits of adult hindsight to make them more more funny or poignant than they might have been otherwise.
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
I don’t remember the last time I read such a fun book. There is something great about reading a book that’s the perfect blend of mindless romance, historical fiction and adventure—a combination that’s far too rare. I think about early Philippa Gregory (her latest stuff is shit, don’t bother) or Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose series. They’re so fun to read. They’re right on the cusp of being just a TAD stupid but they toe that line for all they’ve got. That’s what makes them such a good time. The River of No Return is just such a book. It’s about time travel but not really in the over-serious, stereotypical way you might expect. When I say it’s a combination of romance, historical fiction and adventure, it really is. It’s an almost perfect balance of all three. The characters are interesting, the story moves briskly and the romance portions are JUST THIS SIDE of corny. It’s set up perfectly for a sequel but doesn’t end unsatisfactorily. I read it with a bowl of popcorn. It’s that kind of book.
P.S. Can we talk about that gorgeous cover art?
Have you read either book? Reading anything good right now?