This slender collection of poems -- about 33 -- is a deceptively quick read, but Foley's pieces invite rereading and ruminating. In plain, straightforThis slender collection of poems -- about 33 -- is a deceptively quick read, but Foley's pieces invite rereading and ruminating. In plain, straightforward language, Foley shares the joy of partnership and everyday bliss, the bite of remembered pain, the anxiety of social situations.
I have complicated feelings about poetry: I like the idea of liking poetry, but honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm struggling to "get" a poem. Sometimes, despite loving the sashay of language, I get tired of the tumble of verse. But I enjoy contemporary poets like Foley who remind me that poetry is more than meter and rhyme.
This collection, like the volumes of short stories I've been devouring, was perfect for my life right now, when I don't have lots of free time to read. Instead, I could dip in and pluck out a poem to read, quick, when I had a free moment.
Foley articulated moments both familiar and alien in neat, compact sentences:
I've been pretending I'm my quiet musician son, thinking/deep thoughts, but feeling bored and awkward, a pained smile/cracking my face. (from 'Dinner Party')
My father not humming the/whole of four winters, or to my knowledge, since. (from 'Not Humming')
and her 'Fruedian Quips', which humorously describes the maddening hilarity of conference calls, is familiar to anyone who has sat through one. (I was reminded of this comedy video, which is oh-too-true.)
Other pieces merge the mundane with the more artistic: 'Gelato', a piece in which her partner eats the treat purchased for her, has the cadence and echo of William Carlos Williams' 'This Is Just To Say' while 'Maternal Semiotics' makes lyrical the act of breastfeeding (a piece that particularly resonated with me right now!).
Fans of narrative-style poetry will want to get this one; those who are new to poetry might enjoy this unvarnished and clear collection. Those who like LGBTQ literature will want this one, as Foley writes about her partner, coming out as queer, and facing commentary from those who don't understand her identity. ...more
I went into this book having no idea who Isabella was nor even when this book was set. (In my copy, the first time a date appears is Chapter 16.) DespI went into this book having no idea who Isabella was nor even when this book was set. (In my copy, the first time a date appears is Chapter 16.) Despite that small hindrance, I had no problem getting into the story; Falconer plunges the reader into a world of arranged marriages, foreign courts, and royal intrigue with a clever, observant, and fierce heroine I loved from the start.
Married at 12 to the handsome Edward, Isabella finds herself with a kind but disinterested husband. Citing her age as a his reason for avoiding her bed, it comes clear to the reader, and soon, Isabella, that Edward's favorite, Piers Gaveston, might be more than just a boon companion. Hungry for Edward's affection and time, Isabella strives always to be his ally, urging him toward greatness rather than indulging his whims. But she grows increasingly frustrated when Edward replaces Gaveston with another unpopular favorite and his focus remains always on personal gain rather than what is best for the country.
I was captivated from the first page of this brisk story. Written in present tense, there's a taut immediacy to the narrative that had me racing through it, eager to find out what would happen to Isabella and her rather useless husband. At 218 pages, this is more a novella than a novel, and while I wanted more, this is a coherent and complete story. It's a lean story, too, with hints of detail to evoke time and place, sparse descriptions, a sort of 'modern' feel that I loved. (Gruesome, too, since medieval punishment was not neat nor kind.)
My copy didn't include an Author's/Historical Note, which I would have liked, but otherwise, I have no complaints about this book. It was a fascinating introduction to a British monarch I was unfamiliar with and is the kind of read that colors one's perception, I think: any future reads featuring Isabella will be compared to this book and Falconer's articulation of her.
Brisk, exciting, and zippy, this is a fantastic read for those who want something engrossing without a huge time commitment (I love chunksters, but sometimes, size can be daunting!). Fans of royal intrigue will enjoy this less-written-about era and ruthless heroine....more
Thankfully, I don't mind when historical figures are wrangled into improbable fictions, and in this case, I loved watching Francis Bacon slum it and fThankfully, I don't mind when historical figures are wrangled into improbable fictions, and in this case, I loved watching Francis Bacon slum it and fight crime in World War II London.
Bacon, a crazy surrealist modernist painter who totally creepies me out (warning: painting is wicked disturbing!), is the narrator of this quick, dirty, exciting murder mystery set in the 1940s. An asthmatic, Bacon was unfit for service and instead worked for the Air Raid Precautions (ARP), doing rounds in London during the Blitz, ensuring blackout conditions were observed. Those dark nights, when his duties were completed, he would indulge in a quick pickup at a local park with an anonymous man. Living with his beloved nanny -- near blind, but sharp as a tack -- Bacon was kept in painting supplies thanks to his married lover, a local alderman, with whom he ran an illegal roulette parlor now and then for extra cash.
Naturally inclined toward trouble with a strong disinterest in police, Bacon nonetheless finds himself forced to work with a local cop when he continues to stumble upon murdered men in his neighborhood. With the Blitz killing many indiscriminately, the pointed murders provoke additional fear in Bacon and his circle of acquaintances.
I don't know much about Bacon other than having a passing awareness of his art, so I can't say whether Law's articulation of him is accurate or irreverent. I loved him -- he was wry and self-deprecating, quick and clever and kind of sketchy, bold and dirty and observant -- and he was a fascinating narrator for a World War II/London Blitz murder mystery. Through Bacon, Law's writing is pretty and poignant, artistic without feeling contrived. I had something like ten pages of bookmarks for a 179-page story -- I couldn't stop noting lines I loved, like this one, from about midway, when Bacon helps a crew of men dig rubble off someone after one of the nightly bombings.
The dog dived toward the cavity newly opened in the mess of brick and timber before raising an eerie howl. Strange how effortlessly expressive animals are, while we hairless beasts must struggle over canvass and paints and the English language. (p73-74)
For those who care, there's lots of implied gay sex but nothing overt; still, I felt deliciously seedy while reading. I raced through this one and would have loved it if it were twice or three times the length; hell, I'd love it if this became a series. I so liked Bacon, that rascal, dapper and damaged. Whether 'accurate' to the historical figure or not, Law's Bacon is a character I already miss....more
This is my second Patchett novel, and I liked it even less than the previous one I read (State of Wonder).
First, I totally misunderstood the premiseThis is my second Patchett novel, and I liked it even less than the previous one I read (State of Wonder).
First, I totally misunderstood the premise of this novel. I thought our heroine Sabine's lovely hottie magician husband dies, and then she discovers he was secretly gay, and then discovers he lied about his family being dead and seeks them out blah blah. Instead, the story is that Sabine's lovely hottie magician husband is openly gay and only marries her in the last year so she may inherit his things. He's had numerous loves despite her affection for him. When he dies, she discovers his family isn't dead and seeks them out blah blah. Slight difference, but a significant one: it put the idea of knowing more on Sabine. She knew who Parsifal was, to a point -- she'd been his assistant for 20 years -- so I found her behavior in this book to be a bit piteous and aggravating.
Disappointingly, rather than explore the source of her mental and emotional stasis, Patchett has Sabine pursue Parsifal's life -- yet another obsessive step into the life of a man who didn't love her like she loved him. Since I wasn't fixated on Parsifal the way Sabine was, this whole journey didn't capture me. That Sabine seemed to have little emotional growth and development along the way -- other than to glom onto one of Parsifal's relatives -- frustrated me, but I'm not sure that was the intent of Patchett's story. I think we were supposed to like and relate to Sabine but I found her in need of therapy and some time alone to think about who she is and what she wants from her life.
My next complaint is a little harder to articulate, but there was something dated, I guess, about the novel's feel regarding gays. In some ways, that makes sense -- this book came out in 1997, nearly twenty years ago -- but at the same time, I feel like there's an artificial sense of shock and surprise created by Patchett to evoke tension, maybe. I'll have to meditate on this more as I know I'm not expressing myself clearly -- while reading this, I found myself venting to my wife about how all the Midwestern gays I know (even the ones not speaking to their families) had a more layered relationship to their kin than Patchett's imagining.
And on to my final complaint about this book: I wasn't wild about Patchett's use of setting. In State of Wonder, I thought she evoked the Amazon beautifully, magically. In this book, I found her articulation of Nebraska and the Midwest to be little more than caricature. I suppose since I've lived in Nebraska and the Midwest for a good chunk of my life (and not the Amazon), I cared more, but I felt Patchett used stereotypical shorthand to paint the setting -- country kitsch decor, Walmart, brutish spouses -- rather than really evoke the beauty of a place that moves, lives, and breathes differently than L.A.
The writing is very Patchett-ian, I would say. I read a review about this book describing it's "...dreams, flashbacks, and long, elliptical conversations..." which is spot on, and made me insane. I'm not wild about dream sequences in books; I find them a bit self-indulgent and pointless. Perhaps if I liked Sabine more, that element would have resonated, but since I didn't, I felt tired -- I kept putting this one down rather than wallow in the linguistic snakiness.
So, in conclusion, I'm a big cranky wench. Millions of others have enjoyed this novel so I'm sure it's mostly just me....more
This is another book my wife tore out of my hands because I gushed too much, too soon. We both adored Achy Obejas' short story "Destiny Returns" fromThis is another book my wife tore out of my hands because I gushed too much, too soon. We both adored Achy Obejas' short story "Destiny Returns" from Chicago Noir and this book reminded me greatly of Obejas' story: the wonderful use of place and the bright light shone on the experience of those on the margins of society. James' novel is about a transgendered hairdresser, whose personal life is already emotionally tumultuous -- she's working on coming 'out' wholly as a woman without, hopefully, losing her job -- when she learns that a friend, another transgender woman, is brutally murdered.
Concerned that police aren't moving on solving the murder, Bobbi tracks the man believed to be the murdered, and unsurprisingly, this leads Bobbi into some serious danger. The story flips between Bobbi's first person account and the murderer's life, and it's chilling (delightfully, deliciously, angry-making-ly). This is a political thriller in some ways, unintentionally, but by virtue of the fact that the murder of a transgendered woman is often under-reported in media and poorly investigated. I loved that nuance to this story -- the violent death of anyone is horrible but James really lifts up the fears and anger from a community that often has to watch silently as society ignores the violence they face.
I loved the characters and James' writing, and Bobbi passed my I-want-her-to-be-my-bestie test. She's smart and funny, nervous and bold, scared and surprisingly strong, and very real. She's also a sexual person with desires and lusts, and James doesn't hide that. There's some sex (PG-13ish, I'd say), and some romance, and I loved it all -- and I was really delighted that James doesn't hide Bobbi in anyway. The secondary characters were just as appealing as the main characters, and again, I was so taken with the mix of crime and social/political commentary.
This is a fantastic murder mystery -- don't be scared off by the focus on the transgender community. Even if you're unfamiliar with what 'transgender' means isn't a problem as James provides context and explanation. As Bobbi goes through the process of coming out as a transwoman and what that means, James brings the reader along the whole time, and I dare anyone not to be moved.
I am so eager to see James' next endeavor, and I kind of hope Bobbi shows up again. She's a heroine I'm rooting for, and James' Chicago is a place I want to visit again. Give this book a try, especially this summer: this is a fun, quick-but-meaty murder mystery that is engrossing from the first page to the last....more
I loved this book. And in that way when I'm totally smitten, I'm not even sure I can compose complete sentences explaining why I loved this book so. II loved this book. And in that way when I'm totally smitten, I'm not even sure I can compose complete sentences explaining why I loved this book so. In short: the writing is gorgeous, the romance sensual and sexy, and the characters sketched quickly but warmly despite their flaws.
First, the setting. I'm mad for Paris in the late '20s and I love the circle of artists the novel focuses on; Avery creates the ambiance without bogging down the story in details. There's a mix of hard scrabble poverty and excessive wealth, titles and nobodies, post-war and pre-war. The novel references de Lempicka's art from 1927 on, which can be seen online -- and should, because they're gorgeous. And sexy.
Second, the characters. I really fell in love with everyone, even the unappealing ones, the shameful ones, the shameless ones, the selfish jerks and the too-saintly-to-be true mouses. They felt real to me, even though Avery doesn't spend tons of time describing them, either. (I'm afraid I'm making this sound like the narrative is thin, but it isn't!) Through snappy dialogue and Rafaela's viewpoint (and for a brief time, Tamara's) we see meet these rapacious souls (food, money, sex, artistic inspiration, safety -- the need various, but there's unceasing hunger!). Shamefully (?), I liked Tamara despite her cruel, predatory, and selfish behavior, because Avery made her so real for me. The manipulative, passionate woman we see through Rafaela's eyes tells her side of the story, briefly, late in life.
And finally, the writing. This novel races even though it isn't a fast-paced or intricately plotted novel. The hot burn of desire propels the story; like Rafaela impatient for the day to end so she can go to Tamara, I was impatient for the next liaison, the next drink, the next painting. I ate up every word because each sentence fulfilled and left me yearning. The end of the book killed me dead in the best way, oh-so-bittersweet and sad and yummy.
For those uncomfortable with sex, this novel might be too spicy. Avery writes some of the sexiest lesbian sex I've read in a novel in a long time, and while it isn't graphic, it also isn't discreet. The sex is part of the story, like the paintings, like Paris, and feels right, not gratuitous.
I'm making myself want to read this all over again. Right now....more
Another book I'm struggling to review because I enjoyed it so much (why is it so hard to review something really good?). This subtitle of this book isAnother book I'm struggling to review because I enjoyed it so much (why is it so hard to review something really good?). This subtitle of this book is 'Stories' (as opposed to 'A Novel') but there's more cohesion in this than in some novels I've read. The stories center around fraternal twins Ivan and Misha, Ukrainian immigrants living in New York City, and their small sphere: their father Louie, Misha's boyfriend Smith, Ivan's lovers and confidantes. Each story begins almost in the middle -- it would take me a minute or two to figure out who the focus of the story was, when the story was set -- but despite my brief disorientation, I read on because the characters so intrigued me.
There's a bittersweet sadness to the stories that comes from the few secrets kept between the brothers, the tension of family and the other people who want them (or worse, don't). I don't read much fiction about fathers and sons, but certainly I could relate to the uncomfortable agony of a frustrating parent or sibling. The secondary characters aren't just foils for Ivan, Misha, and Louie -- they're vibrant and have their own complicated back stories, jostling for the reader's attention the way they jostled for Ivan and Misha's attention.
Alenyikov's writing style was the star for me: the narrative is nearly dreamy, a mix of dialogue and stream-of-consciousness, flashback and action. That makes it sound very convoluted, but it isn't; I was reminded of Jeanette Winterson and Anne Carson, maybe Michael Cunningham a little. Alenyikov created unease, quietude, or amped-up anxiousness with his writing style, depending on who the focus of each story was, and I loved that even the prose had personality.
New Yorkers will want to read this as Ivan is a cabbie and the city looms and supports, a constant backdrop to the stories. (There's a bit with a Mormon missionary looking at the nighttime skyline, and he says: "They say it's a godless place, but unless it's the devil's work, this is, well, you know, it looks like heaven." I figured New Yorkers would crow with delight.) Still, whether you're blessed to be from New York City or not, pick up this book: it's a slender read (less than 200 pages), but meaty, a wonderful and heartbreaking look at love, family, and belonging....more
To be fair, this book didn't have a chance to be a favorite of mine. From the start, I'd read too many rapturous, swooning reviews about how radical aTo be fair, this book didn't have a chance to be a favorite of mine. From the start, I'd read too many rapturous, swooning reviews about how radical and genre-rocking this novel was -- and so I read it with a more critical eye.
Like many, I found this novel smacked of Harry Potter fanfic with a heavy swirl of Narnia: disaffected genius teenagers discover magic is real, attend magic college, have sex and drink and are disaffected and do magic, discover secret fantasy kingdom is real. That was all pretty yawn-inducing for me: I've limited patience for entitled young adults behaving selfishly and our hero, Quentin, is particularly off-putting.
I'm not someone wedded to the magic/fantasy genre; I've never read much of the Narnia novels (one, maybe two) and I liked Harry Potter enough. Perhaps if I was like Quentin, someone who desperately wished Narnia were real, this novel would have captivated me more. Perhaps if I were still 21 and feeling excessively grown up and super cynical about the world, Quentin and his friends would have resonated rather than repulsed me.
Given the length of this novel, I anticipated some real character development to occur with Quentin, our boy-man hero. Clearly, Grossman was giving a nod to the hero's journey on both a micro and macro level of the story, and a novel like this led me to expect a transformative journey. Characters -- especially the hero -- learn. Our hero grows. But Quentin doesn't learn: he swims in his selfish maudlin puddle throughout the entire novel. It takes his girlfriend immolating herself in order to save him before he puts aside his selfish jealous rage -- and even then, Grossman lets Quentin off the hook when it comes to reflecting on his bad behavior.
If, say, Quentin were our antihero, then maybe his lack of ethical/moral development would be okay, but in this book, it's clear Grossman wants us to see something deep and real in Quentin. Something authentic and honest (however broken). Instead, I got 429 pages of wallow, wank, angst, stew, and whine.
There were a few moments when I thought Grossman did do something inventive with the genre, a few twists related to faux-Narnia (called Fillory in this novel). The writing was good (making my dislike all the more frustrating!) and the story chugged along at a pretty brisk pace, even if the span of the novel is huge and rather clunky (pre-magic college, magic college, post-magic college, Fillory, post-Fillory). Most of the characters in this novel are pretty unlikable, although that felt real to me: Grossman sets up early on that most magicians are brilliant outcasts, and the misfit club that Quentin finds himself in range true. That didn't make it fun to spend time with them, but they certainly reminded me of people I've met.
Reading this book actually put me in to a bad mood; I was just so damn disappointed in it. My fault, of course, for letting all the hoopla and raptures to lead me to expect more. I've got the sequel in my queue for review; if I wasn't obligated to read it, I'm not sure I'd pick it up....more
I am loathe to start a series in the middle but I just couldn't swing the first two books by the time I needed to get to this one. Fortunately, I absoI am loathe to start a series in the middle but I just couldn't swing the first two books by the time I needed to get to this one. Fortunately, I absolutely enjoyed this book despite my ignorance of the series and the characters!
The novel fictionalizes the life of mystery novelist Josephine Tey (Tey is a pen name, but the character goes by Josephine in this series) and the novel alternates, roughly, chapters of Tey's draft account of a thirty year old crime and her present day. Upson beautifully differentiates between Tey's writing -- which is straight-forward, moving, simple -- and the narration, creating a yummy sense of story-within-a-story. There's a kind of heft to Upson's style of writing: it isn't ornate but it is decorated. Sentences are long and descriptive, heavy with baubles, and it lends a lovely kind of fussiness to the narrative that makes the story seem almost like a character itself. There were passages so fun to read I actually felt bouncy, if that makes sense, exuberant at reading them.
There's quite a cast of characters and a web of smaller mysteries that immediately hooked me (although I was lost from time to time as the characters referenced events from previous books) and I raced through this book. The mystery is grim but not gruesome, and Tey's character as a writer (rather than a detective or police officer) allowed for some sympathetic musings about the motivations of the women involved. Class differences, the shifting political landscape of the UK in the mid-1930s, and the lingering scars of WWI color the action and characters as well, and I appreciated that -- this felt more than a pat mystery series set in the '30s.
I'm going back and reading the first two books for sure, so I can be caught up in time for the fourth Tey novel (should I be so lucky). Highly recommended -- start with An Expert in Murder and work your way to this one!...more
This slender, quiet novel packs quite a punch and is so easy to slip in to, I challenge anyone not to finish it in one sitting! Set in the second centThis slender, quiet novel packs quite a punch and is so easy to slip in to, I challenge anyone not to finish it in one sitting! Set in the second century A.D., the story is told by Antinous, a handsome boy from a rural province who ends up the lover of the emperor Hadrian.
Despite the possibility for some serious torridness, McDonald's writing as Antinous had a kind of restraint that felt aloof at first. But as the story progressed, the facets of love, possession, power, and privilege emerged and created a complicated portrait. Was this love? Abuse? Both?
Very little is known about Antinous' life, but I greatly enjoyed McDonald's envisioning of what it would have been like: the competitive schooling and classmates jockeying for power, the tension between Greek and Roman, the jealousies that emerge when one is privileged above all others, and the pain that comes from an unequal love. Additionally, Antinous lived in a fascinating era historically and McDonald included those tidbits -- which made me want to head to a library immediately and read more!
Even if you're not typically a reader of 'gay' fiction, I strongly recommend this novel. It's far from salacious or shocking for the sake of shocking; instead, McDonald envisioned what this historically notorious relationship could have been like, and the result is moving and enjoyable....more
Unfortunately, my favorite part of this potentially fascinating novel was the forward and introduction. A fascinating mix of performance art and literUnfortunately, my favorite part of this potentially fascinating novel was the forward and introduction. A fascinating mix of performance art and literary experiment, this novel was born out of a brainstorm to raise awareness about Seattle's literary scene. A basic outline was created and the authors given free reign to interpret and move the story along as they saw fit. Totally neat and super exciting.
From the start, I didn't connect with the story or characters. Alexis is an interesting enough teenager in a very sad situation, but the secondary characters were all so unappealing and the plot so over-the-top that I just couldn't connect with Alexis -- and worse, come to care about her. The running of a residential hotel is very novel and that part intrigued me, but the tenants are all child-adults stuck in the '60s. I think they were meant to be quirky and funny and a little bit pathetic, but I found myself angry and irritated with them -- so much so, I couldn't imagine why Alexis continued to enable them as she did.
I wanted very much to experience Seattle as a character, but despite the numerous mentions of neighborhoods and a few landmarks, I didn't get a sense of the city in the story. Alexis could have been in any liberal urban area; I didn't feel as if Seattle (or the Pacific Northwest) was particularly noticeable in the narrative. Missing that connection, then, all her running around the city was tiresome to me and seemed to be a space filler.
Overall, the quality of the writing was good (I've added about a dozen new writers to my TBR) and for me, the weakness was the story. I just didn't dig the plot. But I enjoyed the language and the sort of kaleidoscopic way each author eyed Alexis and her plight. Seattle folks might enjoy this novel for it's setting, and fans of avant garde fiction might get a kick out of writing-as-performance. Anyone who enjoys reading-as-experience will like the forward and I recommend this book for that alone!...more
This unreadable novel is the worst of 'feminist' fiction. Walker's premise is interesting enough but her characters are painfully one-dimensional, herThis unreadable novel is the worst of 'feminist' fiction. Walker's premise is interesting enough but her characters are painfully one-dimensional, her plot slow and predictable, and the moral overly simplistic. Walker's non-fiction works are questionable enough to be novels, but her attempts at straight out fiction fail terribly....more
I read this before the film came out, on the recommendation of a bookstore owner who adored it. I liked it enough -- enough to finish it -- but most oI read this before the film came out, on the recommendation of a bookstore owner who adored it. I liked it enough -- enough to finish it -- but most of the story doesn't stick with me. The film did a lovely job, I thought, one of the few times a book translated that well. I much prefer Mrs. Dalloway than this, but as a nod to Woolf, it's interesting. As a snapshot of life in 1980s NYC, it's also very good....more
I'm an enormous Louise DeSalvo fangirl. For good and for bad, I think everything she says is golden. As such, her take on revenge as a motivation forI'm an enormous Louise DeSalvo fangirl. For good and for bad, I think everything she says is golden. As such, her take on revenge as a motivation for some 20th century writers (well, four really) really resonated with me, being one who holds grudges and nurtures furious revenge fantasies. Fans of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Djuna Barnes, and Henry Miller should give this a read -- even if one disagrees with her conclusions, I think DeSalvo's look at their work(s) is interesting....more
This is a complicated, complex book. Written, in part, as a way to lash out a lover, much of the action is obfuscated and hidden. But there is a lyricThis is a complicated, complex book. Written, in part, as a way to lash out a lover, much of the action is obfuscated and hidden. But there is a lyric quality to the narrative, and Barnes' dark imagery conveys intensely what she is feeling.
**spoiler alert** This book started very slow and it was only at the urging of a good friend that I continued reading it. I'm grateful for the push be**spoiler alert** This book started very slow and it was only at the urging of a good friend that I continued reading it. I'm grateful for the push because by Part Two of this book, I found it impossible to put down. It is the story of Margaret and Selina--a proper, but very sad, lady of wealth and education; and a spiritual medium. Taking place in Victorian England, this book is similar only in location and era to her first book Tipping the Velvet--which is a very good thing. There are lesbian undertones to this book, but as much of the action takes place in a women's prison, it is not forced or unexpected, and actually gives the book much of its tension. Margaret, suffering from the physical loss of her father and the emotional loss of her 'friend', begins visiting a local women's prison as a kind of social service--to inspire the lowly criminals to repent. There, she meets Selina Dawes, a notorious medium who was imprisoned after a client of hers died under mysterious conditions. It is Margaret who seems to gain improvement from her visits, and this starts the series of events that make this book both expected and heartbreaking.
I guessed around what Waters' twist was: I suspected--as I think we all were invited to--that Selina was a fraud but hoped--again, as I think we were all to--that Margaret's feelings were true, and that Selina and her would have a happy life together. I enjoyed this book a thousand times more than Tipping the Velvet but still have the same complaints: Waters is overly wordy and long-winded at times, and tries to create an 'authentic' Victorian feel to her novel by replicating the syntax and style of a 19th century novel in a way that feels forced.
Right now I am most curious about the book jacket on the hardcover edition, which is more mysterious and iconic than the paperback edition, which is a virtual articulation of the plot. The first image actually feels more true to the story for me--the figure in shroud is an image of all the women in the book, really; all half-dead and shadowy, pale aspects of their full self. The second cover forces the reader to consider Selina as the major player and motivator in this book, and potentially removes the chance that the reader will see something more archetypal in the characters, their stories, and their reactions. ...more