Sunday, 14 September 2014

Girl Reading: A Novel Review

In Girl Reading, Katie Ward imagines the story behind seven pieces of art depicting girls or women   I bought the book because I love this idea.  Besides the subject of the art, each story and piece is entirely different and seemingly unrelated until the clever final section. 
            Ward displays her writing and research ability by jumping from a painting of the Annunciation in 1333 Siena to a flickr photo in 2008 to an imagined futuristic art interpreter in 2060.  Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Ward is no confined by genre or time.
                It takes some effort by the reader to trust the author in each section.  Each chapter drops in medias res so that it is at first tricky to figure out who the main character is, who is speaking and what is actually going on.  Ward omits quotations marks and sometimes commas, causing the reader some sense of confusion.  While I was able to get used to this in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I found it continually noticeable in this book.  However, Girl Reading was still a genuine pleasure to read and I highly recommend sticking with it to uncover the fascinating jewels within.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Attempting Elizabeth Review

Jessica Grey has created one of the most imaginative Jane Austen-inspired stories I have ever come across.  Kelsey Edmundson is an English major with a major crush on Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy.  Her real-life love-life is nothing like Regency England.  Her boyfriends all seem more “Wickhamy” than Darcy-like.  When she meets a good-looking Australian named Mark at a night club, she can’t seem to say anything right and ends up insulting him.  When he shows up at her house the next morning, she is still in her pajamas with a hangover.
                After agreeing to hike with Mark and some friends, she falls asleep rereading her favourite novel only to wake up as Georgiana Darcy just before Wickham proposes.  In something similar to Groundhog Day, Kelsey keeps messing up as Georgiana and has to relive the day over and over. 
                Without adding spoilers, I have to say the Grey doesn’t stop there.  This story continually surprised me with its twists and turns.  I loved all of the pop-culture references and Regency details.  If you enjoy Jane Austen and the fan fiction which has been inspired by her work, you do not want to miss this book.  I especially liked how Grey related things that happened to Kelsey in Pride and Prejudice to what is happening in her regular life.  Grey has a talent for dialogue and for making fantasy seem possible.  It would make a lovely movie.