Monday, September 22, 2008
by Francine Prose
I'd allowed myself to drift into that hushed and watery border zone...
Is an example of the word pictures created by Francine Prose. This is a story of sadness and loss, grief and discovery. A story told in the voice of Nico, the sister left behind.
Nico's family struggles to survive the death of a beloved child. A whimsical, talented and loving girl just beginning to become a woman. The angst and the fear that it could have been prevented if only something were different, or someone had done or not done this or that.
To be honest, this is a story that has been told before, but rarely in such a compelling and beguiling way. I read Goldengrove in one sitting. I had to know how it ended for Nico. It is her story.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
We will know that great lives have been lived and that our memories will forever bind us together.
So ends Beside a Burning Sea.
The writer is an excellent storyteller. I must admit that once I had this book in my hands, I was not expecting much. Between the choosing and the reality The description had lost its draw. I decided to carry on and have a look, and stepped into a story well worth reading.
Within a very few pages I realized that I already cared about the characters. Isabelle and Annie are sisters. Nurses serving on the hospital ship Benevolence, during WWII. They cared for Americans and Japanese alike. In fact it was a Japanese man who was in their care when the torpedo struck.
Atrocities have always been part of war. In this case a Japanese plane purposely torpedoed this hospital ship.
Within seconds water came to the waists of the sisters. That they could only try to save themselves was immediately clear to the Japanese patient, Akira.It was then that he became the caretaker and helped the sisters to leave the quickly sinking ship.
The Captain, husband to Isabelle, also managed to survive. He was on deck when the attack occurred and found himself in the water. He and only a few others survived, and all found themselves swimming for a nearby island.
This group of people bonded and found a way to survive. The story takes place over a remarkable eighteen days. Days when life, death, and love would make an everlasting impression on the small group of survivors.
This is a story that will draw you in and characters who will sty with you for a long time.
Do not hesitate to take this one on. It is beautifully written, with a sensitivity that will have you searching for more books by this author.