28 August 2007
Overdue but worth it.
I remember feeling overwhelmed when I read "After You'd Gone". It's one of maybe a couple of handfuls of books outside of my chosen genre that I've read in my entire life. And one of the few outside of my genre that I've loved passionately.
"The Distance Between Us" blew my mind. Yet again, I was forced to buy a "keep forever" copy of a non-chick lit novel, as well as the "read it till it falls apart" copy.
I don't remember much about "My Lover's Lover" other than I'm sure I enjoyed it, but I also remember thinking it was very weird.
I've had the proof of "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" sat, unread, on my shelves for well over a year. And having finally read it on Sunday, I'm gutted that I didn't pick it up before now.
I'm sure the entire world knows what this book is about, and most of those that can read, have probably read it already - I'm just very slow and very shabby... but anyway, it tells the story of Iris who comes to learn about her elderly relatives - two sisters - Esme and Kitty, who were bought up in India before moving to Scotland in the 1930's. In present day, Esme is about to be released from a mental hospital, where she has lived for the past 60 years and Kitty is suffering from Alzheimer's, and is trying to piece together her past.
Lots of people far better qualified than I, have posted various disparaging reviews on other blogs and sites about this book. Balderdash to the lot of you I say. I adored the book. I loved the sisters relationship with one another and themselves. I was gripped by the story and what happens to them before, during and after Iris makes contact. I may not have liked Iris or her bizarre half brother, but they had a place in a story that would not have been as dramatic without them. I've never been to India, or Glasgow come to that, but the descriptions of both places were so exquisite I felt like I had once I'd read the book.
The build up to the ending was beautifully written and when the ending finally came, I felt winded with pain. I still don't really know exactly what happens at the end, but I think the ending my mind's eye has painted is fitting. And just. And perfect.