Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Still trying to catch up


I read Warlight by Michael Ondaatje for both of my book groups and really liked it.  The term warlight refers to the time during WWII in London when light were to be dimmed or blacked out.

Part One takes place in 1945. Fourteen year old Nathaniel and his sister Rachel were told that their parents were going to Singapore for a year for work. Nathaniel and Rachel had been enrolled in boarding schools for the coming school year and on holidays would be taken care of in their home by one of their parent's "colleagues".  They (the children) referred to him as "The Moth".  At the end of the summer, their father had already gone ahead to Singapore and their mother was getting ready to leave.  She packed a large steamer trunk and then left sooner than scheduled.  The children left for their schools.  They were each unhappy at their schools and after six weeks, the children slipped away from the schools and returned to their home.

Once home, they discovered their mother's steamer trunk hidden away in the basement.  She hadn't taken it with her. They were shattered to find that their mother had lied to them and left them with the stranger.  However, The Moth ended up being their safety.  He had some questionable friends, but even they were kind to the children.  At the end of Part One, the children were involved in some kind of an attack and their mother showed up.

In Part Two Nataniel revealed the events of the years after the attack after his mother had reappeared.  In those years, Nataniel sought to learn who his mother really was and where she had disappeared to all those years ago.

This book is fascinating! And the writing is superb.

"If a wound is great you cannot turn it into something that is spoken, it can barely be written."
White Houses by Amy Bloom is a historical novel based on Eleanor Roosevelt and her friend, Lorena Hickok,  know as "Hick". I am not sure why, but I did not enjoy this story as a historical novel.  Perhaps because the time of it was not terribly before my time.

White Houses

Hick was a reporter when she first met Eleanor in 1932 while covering FDR's campaign for president.  The women became fast friends and took trips together, etc. over the years.  The book is about how their relationship began and changed over the years.

Personally, I would rather have read a non-fiction account of their time together.

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