I love books that are an unexpected pleasure and Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (known for her non-fiction work the Drunken Botantist) was that anI love books that are an unexpected pleasure and Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (known for her non-fiction work the Drunken Botantist) was that and more. The book is a fictionalized account of Constance Kopp (our Girl waiting with a Gun) and her two sisters Norma and Fleurette. In 1914 in Paterson NJ the three sisters are riding in their buggy and are run over by an automobile driven by Henry Kaufman. Kaufman is the owner of a local silk mill-he refuses to take responsibility for the damages to the buggy and starts a campaign of intimidation against the sisters. The sisters are not your average femme fatales-Constance is large and imposing, Norma is obsessed with her pigeons and reading lurid crime pieces in the newspapers and Fleurette is on the cusp of being an adult, a talented seamstress and budding performer. Constance confronts Kaufman after two requests for payment are ignored-embarrassed in front of his ne’er do well friends Kaufman starts his campaign of harassment sending threatening letters several through “brick mail”, driving by the girls’ farmhouse, shooting at the house and stating that Fleurette will be abducted and sold.
Instead of fleeing the girls contact the local sheriff, learn to shoot and actively work with the honest portion of the constabulary to bring Kaufman to justice which took almost a year. This in and of itself is an interesting narrative but Stewart also includes storylines such as a young mill worker who had a child with Kaufman, the transportation of children out of Paterson into the city during the silk strike, and the limited options for women in the early part of the 20th century.
I particularly liked Constance’s development from naiveté to forthright Girl with a Gun and since this is all based on a true story I hope that there are more C. Kopp adventures. ...more
I have a conflicted relationship with John Banville I am never sure that I enjoy his work and yet I read his books as soon as they are published. TheI have a conflicted relationship with John Banville I am never sure that I enjoy his work and yet I read his books as soon as they are published. The Blue Guitar leaves me in the same quandary-there are parts I absolutely loved and moments that stick with me and yet I have a flat feeling about this novel. Oliver Orme is a painter and a thief (really more of a kleptomaniac) married to Gloria, he is definitely in the midst of a midlife crisis and has an affair with Polly who is married to Marcus.
It is one of those stories that nothing really every seems to work out for the characters -the affair ends with Oliver bolting, we learn some truths about Gloria and her feelings and external relationships, Polly changes course and Marcus meets his end. I did enjoy Oliver's response when he realized something had been stolen from him-the shock and realization that he was not the only thief. All in all the characters were just not likable perhaps contributing to my Banville ennui and lackluster response to this book. ...more