Apr. 28th, 2014

[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I finished The Falling Woman with a deep sense of satisfaction. It's a different book, maybe offbeat would be the word? Not quirky. Quirky is the wrong word. If I say it's a woman's book, that's not right, either. It's not a book only a woman could write, but possibly it's a book more like the one a woman would write. Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

I think for me what stands out in the books I prefer tends to be compassion. Compassion of the author for her characters, however flawed. And there's certainly compassion in this book. We could easily hate Elizabeth Butler for abandoning her daughter, but we don't. She's drawn too fully for such a simplistic response. We can still think what she did was wrong--although surely her husband committed the greater wrong--but we understand what happened and why she acted as she did. There are no cardboard cut-out villains among the women. Maybe Marcos is a bit of a cipher, or maybe a cliche, but I think that's possibly because we're not used to women seeing through such men, or using them just as they like to use. He has one version of events but hers is another, different, not sad or desperate but something close to that yet more empowered.

Definitely worth a read. I'm undecided whether it's SF or Fantasy but I'm sticking the SF label on it for now.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I trailed the moving finger down the non-fiction shelf by the bed and came up with All Sorts and Conditions of Men by Walter Besant. Except, as those of you are ahead of me may already know, it's fiction.


How I came think it wasn't a novel is beyond me, especially as it's in English, unlike my other faux pas in the fiction/non-fiction differentiation department, which was Une Histoire d'un Conscrit de 1813. I picked up a rather battered French-language edition sometime somewhere, under the misapprehension that it was a memoir. Nope, it's a roman, a novel, a fictional collaboration between two French writers from the Moselle region of France. Bah.

Some in the family have speculated on my ability to read a book in French, so here's my translation of the first paragraph:

'Those who didn't see the glory of Emperor Napoleon during the years 1810, 1811 and 1812, will never know the heights of power to which a man can climb.'

That's perfectly good English, anyway!


To return to Besant, I have to say it's not a very good book. The dialogue is unconvincing, and the plot contrived. Not sure why I'm still reading. Perhaps it will go on to draw the poorer parts of London with sympathy and accuracy. We can hope.


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