Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lucille and Ruth are two sisters who are raised by a succession of relatives after their mother's death. They live in a remote town called Fingerbone and never seem to quite fit in with the other residents of the town. Their family are considered a little odd. A little quirky. When their aunt Sylvie comes into their lives and takes over their guardianship their lives take on a whole new dimension. Aunt Sylvie has lead a transient lifestyle for many years and appears to be extremely eccentric, although there is obviously an underlying reason in the book which I won't go into too much detail about for fear of spoiling the story. Suffice to say, its really up to the reader to make their own judgements as to why Sylvie acts as she does, but I'd say its fairly obvious. What is sad about the story is it highlights not only the girl's physical abandonment but also how they have been abandoned, cast out by a whole community. Their isolation takes on not only an emotional form but a physical one. 

The descriptive style of this book is of such a high standard and so impressive for what was Marilynne Robinson's first book. There is no getting away from the fact that this is a great piece of writing. However, I found the pace of the book to be a little slow and a little bit of a depressing story, which of course it's supposed to be. And, perhaps that's why the book is paced the way it is...........to represent how life for the main character's merely meanders along. Their isolation is almost crippling. The main character's in the book are all women, with men having little mention.

The railroad and the lake in the town seem to affect every aspect of Ruth and Lucille's life, their past and their future and both also play a recurrent theme throughout the book. Whilst I found this a slow story, others reading it may enjoy the pace of the book. I found that the story left me feeling a little melancholy. Perhaps that was the authors intention? Beautifully written in a poetic way and atmospheric way.

One Response so far.

  1. Lindsay says:

    I bought this one a couple of years ago and it's still sitting on the tbr pile. Not sure why. I want to try this author but as yet haven't been drawn to read it, and I think you've pinpointed some of the reasons in your fab review.

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