Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.
– Rose City Reader
Here’s a book I started reading:
By: Alison MacLeod
May, 1940. Brighton. Wartime.
On Park Crescent, a sunlit and usually tranquil street, Geoffrey and Evelyn Beaumont and their eight-year-old son, Philip, anxiously await news. The enemy is expected to land on the beaches of Brighton any day.
It is a year of tension and change. Geoffrey becomes Superintendent of the enemy alien camp at the far reaches of town, while young Philip is gripped by the rumour that Hitler will make Brighton’s Royal Pavilion his English HQ. He spends hours with his friends imagining life in Brighton under Hitler’s rule. And as the rumours continue to fly and the days tick on, Evelyn struggles to fall in with the war effort and the constraints of her role in life, her thoughts becoming tinged with a mounting, indefinable desperation.
Then she meets Otto Gottlieb, a ‘degenerate’ German-Jewish painter and prisoner in her husband’s internment camp. As Europe crumbles, Evelyn’s and Otto’s mutual distrust slowly begins to change into something else, which will shatter the structures on which her life, her family and her community rest.Love collides with fear, the power of art with the forces of war, and the lives of Evelyn, Otto, and Geoffrey are changed irrevocably.
Here’s the first lines of the book:
The talk that May afternoon was of the rockfall at the undercliff. A fisherman’s dory had been buried, along with his dog, and the collapse had taken part of the sea wall with it.
– 1% on my Kobo eReader
This novel has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this 2013 and I’m so happy I was approved of a galley copy to read. I’m hoping to finish it before the shortlist is announced on September 10 so at least I can say I read one of the books before the next round (for a change!) xP Anyways, I’m looking forward to it, the premise sounds really interesting.
Flashback Friday is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, a little weekly tradition in which she picks a book from her reading past to highlight. If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:
- Has to be something you’ve read yourself
- Has to still be available, preferably still in print
- Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago
Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!
For this week’s FF, I chose another historical fiction title published some six years ago…
The Spanish Bow
By: Andromeda Romano-Lax
My review of the novel
In her impressive debut, Romano-Lax creates the epic story of Feliu Delargo, an underprivileged child prodigy whose musical ability brings him into contact with world leaders, first-class artists and a life filled with loss and triumph. Their father killed in Cuba just before the Spanish-American War, Feliu, his three brothers and one sister manage a meager life in Campo Seco, a small Catalan town, while their strong-willed mother fends off suitors. At 14, Feliu and his mother travel to Barcelona, where a cello tutor agrees to take on Feliu as a student. Over the years, as Feliu establishes himself, he crosses path with Justo Al-Cerra, an egotistical, manipulative pianist, and their touring leads to an intertwining of lives that becomes more complicated when they encounter Aviva, a violinist with her own emotional damage. As the trio tour and Europe careens toward WWII, Romano-Lax weaves into the narrative historical figures from Spanish royalty to Franco and Hitler, giving Feliu the opportunity to ponder the roles of morality in art and art in politics.
– from Goodreads
I picked this novel up a few years ago as I was searching for novels set in Spain and written by Spanish authors. This novel fit perfectly and the scope of its story–covering the end of the 19c and early half of the 20c and all of the upheavals in Spain–is just epic. These events of course serve as a backdrop that Feliu is aware of as he navigates through his own life and his rise as an accomplished musician.
It’s hard for me to really explain this novel, it’s such a canopy of different things: the character development and interaction, the historical events happening around them, the music and how it affects everyone’s lives to varying degrees. There’s a lot going on and it may seem a little slow for some readers but I thought the pacing was perfect as the narrative really fleshes out Feliu’s life and experiences.
The Spanish Bow is a very lovely read…I’ve been meaning to re-read it, actually (and check out the author’s latest book!)
If you’re participating in this meme, be sure to link up over at Bookshelf Fantasies!
Hope everyone has a great Friday and a wonderful weekend! 🙂