Apr. 24th, 2014

[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Lately I've been reading Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, which was one of the books I bagged on a recent visit to Waterstones. It's told from two different first-person POVs. The first is archaeologist Elizabeth Butler, who's currently working on a dig at a Mayan site, and has the ability to see into the past at twilight. The second POV is Elizabeth's estranged daughter, Diane, who's come in the hope of establishing a relationship with the mother who gave her up to her father's care years before.

So far, this is a very interesting book that focus on the relationship between mother and daughter and their different relationships with the past. Diane wants to understand their own past but Elizabeth is interested in the Mayans she sees living their lives around her, and even more so in the Falling Woman of the title, Zuhuy-kak, a Mayan woman who was sacrificed in a cenote but survived to bring the messages of the gods back to her people. Never before has one of Elizabeth's ghosts interacted with her.

At the same time, it appears possible that Diane has inherited her mother's ability to catch glimpses of the distant past.

There were some points at the beginning of this book--always a tricky time--where I was disappointed. For example, when Elizabeth first meets Zuhuy-kak, there seems to be too much luck in Elizabeth's ability to answer the tests Zuhuy-kak sets her. One lucky guess I could tolerate, but two in succession felt forced. Yet that's such a small complaint. Beginnings are hard; it's often there that the reader's willingness to suspend disbelief is tested.

Am looking forward to finding out what happens next.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I finished Nicola Griffith's Slow River then read The Fox Boy by Peter Walker.

Slow River was a strong book that lost its way towards the end. In the tide-turning scene where the water treatment plant is sabotaged and Lore has to save lives, she was so competent and in control that there was never any doubt she'd succeed. So, no tension, no drama, just a win that felt inevitable and weak. She could really have done with a bigger threat, to make a mistake, or to overcome an inner struggle. Not just walk all over the problem.

Generally, the ending of the book felt disappointingly weak. It could probably have done with one more edit from the author or perhaps a development edit by an editor. Something to beef it up. The book Griffith started to write and the intriguing characters she created deserved better.

Worth a read, though, despite its problems. There's life in the characters and the world they inhabit is plausible yet has just that touch of unfamiliarity.

The Fox Boy (I just tried to type Box Foy, but hey, it's a new laptop and the keys are tooclosetogether for me) is a non-fiction account of a Maori boy kidnapped by other Maoris, then re-kidnapped by white settlers in New Zealand. It's an odd little book, a mixture of the Fox Boy's story, Walker's experiences while researching his story, and a more general account of how the Maoris narrowly avoided the war of extermination many settlers were anxious for. A lovely, readable, compassionate book.

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