Lari Don's Reviews > Gillespie and I

Gillespie and I by Jane  Harris
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's review
May 26, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: adult-fiction

This novel has a couple of features which usually put me off: a very slow pace and a plot which is signalled beforehand with lots of hints. However, in this writer’s hands and in this character’s voice, these devices work perfectly. The story is set around the household of a struggling artist at the time of the International Exhibition in Glasgow, and is told, decades later, by an acquaintance who grew into a family friend and benefactor, and who was there to help when the (often hinted at) family tragedy occurs. The hints and pace work so well because the gossipy voice of the friend, Harriet Baxter, is perfect. It’s a wonderful evocation of late C19th Glasgow (I kept catching glimpses of the modern city past the dresses and horses) and it’s also convincing on the pressures of being an artist without financial support, and on the freedoms and constraints of being a woman more than 100 years ago. But it’s mostly a mystery, built up with suspense and fear, and a stonking whodunnit by the end. And it’s a story which has stayed with me. I finished it a few days ago, and I’m still prodding at it in my head, to see what I really believe happened. Who did what? Who said what? WHY!? A wonderful book, well worth slowing down your reading metabolism for.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Will be interested to see what you make of it. I gave up on the Observations, her previous one, in the end - basically was insufficiently bothered about what happened!

Lari Don I loved 'Gillespie and I' - I've just put up a 5 star review. I think it may have some of the elements you perhaps found annoying in 'The Observations', but this time they've been made to work for the story and characters. I'm sorry you gave up on a book, but also glad - we shouldn't waste our precious reading time on books which aren't working for us. But please do try 'Gillespie and I' sometime, I really enjoyed it.

message 3: by Alex (new)

Alex Nye I think I might give it a go. I haven't read any Jane Harris before, but I like the sound of some of the content - struggling artist, financial restraints...

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