Chris's Reviews > The Book Borrower

The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison
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's review
Aug 08, 12

liked it
Read in August, 2012

This is a very weird book - but a good one - and actually one that will probably linger in my mind for sometime to come. It's about the friendship of two women and their connection over their lifetime with a book - called Trolley Girl - which is a memoir about a Jewish Anarchist woman who led a strike in Boston in the 20s. Yet neither of the women are attached to the book, nor the anarchist woman - who eventually shows up in the story in the present.

The narrative switches from the "present" lives of these women who are mothers, and teachers (and honestly don't seem to be very good friends) and then the story of the trolley system, the anarchists and the labor disputes.
The writing style is strange, and it is almost vague (reminds me of one of those emo-fanzines) and leaves out as much as it includes and the switch in narratives isn't very well marked.
But the story grew on me and I wanted to find out what happened to the anarchist who was accused of murder, as well as to the friendship of these two women as well as their families. The book actually belonged to the husband who was obsessed with trolleys and it's the other woman's son who ends up working for the artist and connecting things together - though no one makes the connection, or actually reads the book. But the idea is that the book continually brings about a connection and ties things together.

Well, I ended up liking this one.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Todd Slutzky Very well said. And your sentiments mirror my own.

Todd Slutzky Very well said. And your sentiments mirror my own.

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