Saturday, March 25, 2017

Exit West

Saeed and Nadia meet in a war torn country on the edge of an explosive civil war. Ironically, as their city falls to pieces they try to continue with normal daily living of work, school and going to the market. Saeed notices Nadia in class one evening and invites her out for coffee. She is covered in a floor length black robe and Saeed is both shocked and in awe when she accepts and drives away on her motor scooter. He is instantly intrigued by this independent woman.  As their friendship grows Saeed and Nadia become obsessed with the rumor of hidden doors that are said to exist throughout the city as a means to escape. When the city becomes too dangerous to navigate any longer, food and electric are scarce and phone service disappears along with the internet, this young couple search out the door. Quickly slipping into another world to save their lives and for better or worse change them forever. In a Narnia sort of way these doors symbolize the migration of citizens from all over the world. This migration reflects the very real immigration issues faced today where people leave family, jobs and homes behind with the hope that a future still exists for them and their children. This beautifully written story follows the couple searching for an existence and their emotional and physical struggles when their entire world is torn apart. These people are a burden to other countries. How dare they cross the invisible lines called borders. In these countries they enter people are shocked that they cannot assimilate and dismantle everything they have ever known more quickly. They are lost, scared and desperate. They find security in groups, in numbers, with people most similar to themselves. Together they beg for a chance while the nativists push back. Sound familiar? I am not merely recommending this book. I am saying everyone must read this book.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Anything is Possible

While reading My Name is Lucy Barton it did occur to me that all these little life stories had a story of their own. The author must have felt the same, as she has now followed up with a new book called Anything is Possible. A compilation of short stories about the Pretty Nicely Girls, Tommy the janitor and Lucy’s sister Vicky - where their love/hate relationship had lingered for years, to name a few. These small town mid-western lives, filled with poverty, abuse, love, fear and an underlying hope is described in the delicate manner only Elizabeth Strout can create. She digs deep into the hearts and minds of these characters bringing a genuineness that is almost painful. If you have not read My Name is Lucy Barton, I would definitely start there and then enjoy this beautiful new novel. I was lucky to have an early read thanks to netgalley but it will be available April 25th.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is an English holiday, similar to America’s Mother’s Day. It is 1924 and Jane Fairchild is given the day off from her job as a maid. As she is an orphan, there is no mother to visit and Jane makes a secretive yet leisurely visit to the son of a neighbor. Paul Sheringham is of high society wealth and status and about to be married. Jane and Paul have been carrying on their secret affair for years – but today is the last time they will be together. Decades later, Jane Fairchild reflects back on the chapters of her life, of her loves and passion for reading and later writing. Highly recommend this beautifully told, romantic story of one woman’s surprising journey. It is written simply and poetically and I could not put it down.