This installment: a current day Lear (f); healing through sewing (nf); a teen CD, gay theme (f); and Moyes’s latest (f).
Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn
A contemporary retelling of King Lear in which the two rapacious daughters scheme to unseat their eponymous progenitor, a media mogul, and the third, Florence, tries to save him and the company. Dunbar manages to escape the institution where they’ve imprisoned him (he cheeks the meds) in the company of a bibulous actor, ends up in a barn with an old hermit as guide, and the greedy doctor and the sisters’ lawyer, all attempting double-crosses, get theirs, as I had hoped .Wicked fun.
Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida
Subtitled a year of simple projects for living well. I like to sew and find it satisfying and contemplative. For Ishida it was a life saver. She took on too much responsibility at work, neglecting her family and her health. She was eventually fired, got a scary diagnosis, and went into a deep downward spiral. Gradually she climbed out and the result: just what the title promises. She’s a wonderful writer, so honest about imperfection, and this book filled me with hope. There are detailed directions for duplicating her projects which she says are easy enough for her 9-year-old for make. And even if you have no intention of picking up needle and thread, pick up this book for the opportunity to hang out in good company and revel in its fine design, as well.
Release by Patrick Ness
I encountered this teen book on CD and it took a bit to make the leap from Adam’s “ordinary” life to supernatural happenings related to a recent murder of a girl in which an ancient goddess and her attendant faun get entwined with the girl’s spirit and manifest to seek revenge. (In the book these episodes are in italics.) But soon I got into the rhythm of alternating events and got caught up in Adam’s struggles. He’s gay, his fundamentalist parents love him but can’t accept that aspect of him, his first lover, now ex, is moving, as is his best friend Angela, and his horrid boss is putting the moves on him. Hard won release from guilt and shame comes at last and the goddess and the girl’s murderer have their showdown and she’s freed to return to her realm. A fascinating take on familiar material.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Our plucky heroine Louisa has fetched up in the Big Apple, working for a very rich family. Recommended for her pragmatic, upbeat approach, she becomes Agnes’s personal assistant but this unhappy woman is a challenge to say the least. Polish, second wife considered a gold digger by the family’s circle of friends, with a secret back home. I settle into Moyes’s books with contentment, knowing a good story will emerge and it works every time.
Back next week.