Hi! My name is Willow Tree (yeah, corny pseudonym, I admit it!) and I'll be your blogger for today. I'm usually found trying to flex my writing muscles No weeping allowed as part of Geohde's Great Blog Cross-PollinationGeohde's great blog cross-pollination, Sarah and I have switched blogs for today, so get ready for a ~slight~ change of pace and topic :) Here goes!
A few years ago, I had to stop reading Yann Martel's after just a few chapters, The life of Pi just to ask the Google and Wikipedia gods if the story was really pure fiction, or based on a true story, or what, because despite its (literally) fantastic and incredible premise, it was so compelling, with a voice that somehow rang so true, that I so wanted to believe that it was, in fact true.
Nowadays, I tend to consume books mostly from my preferred genre: fantasy. From George R. R. Martin to Jim Butcher, Isobelle Carmody to Lois MacMaster Bujold, and pretty much everyone in between. But every once in a while, a random book on a library shelf calls out "Read me! Read me!", and that is how I ended up reading The Story of Forgetting.
Told from the perspective of two very different characters - Abel, an elderly hunchback living in isolation and haunted by the ghosts of his brother and sister-in-law and the daughter that ran away from home never to be seen again; The Story of Forgetting and Seth, your typical gawky, angsty, nerdy, social outcast teen whose mother has just been placed in a nursing home after a diagnosis of a rare variant of early-onset Alzheimer's disease - the tale is presented not only via a third-person narrator reporting on the two characters, but also using stories about a fictitious place called Isadora, which seems to connect Seth and Abel somehow.
Included also is a wry narration of the development and spread of that variant of the disease, from the mutation of that one little gene, to how it happened to have spread to so many people in that one town in England, and how no thanks to a failed purging, the disease's carriers were instantly spread all around the world. So well-written was this part that I, again, just had stop reading and check with my husband, who is in the medical field, to see just how much of it was fiction and how much fact.
As a wannabe writer, I've started to pay some attention to things other than "just" the story when I read books. I mentioned the two above because while their styles and content were quite different, they had this ring of truth that made them stand out from the crowd of books in my head. Forgetting also made a decent attempt at developing two main storylines that finally intersected at the very end.
I say "decent" because there is a book out there that blew me away with its skillful juggling of three cris-crossing storylines, each taking place about 20 years apart from the other.
I admit that perhaps one would need to be a fan of the darker genres in order to enjoy Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. It is, after all, a Dracula tale. But my oh my, what a take on the tale! The main narrative is from 1972, when a teenage girl discovers a medieval book and a cache of yellowed letters in her diplomat father's library.The historian " The pages of the book" The pages of the book are empty except for a woodcut of a dragon and the word "Drakulya,". The letters are addressed to: "My dear and unfortunate successor." Who wouldn't be curious??
Upon confronting her father, Paul agrees to tell her what it's all about, and thus the second storyline comes into play: Paul's experience in the 1950's relating to the disappearance of his mentor, Professor Rossi, and how he and Rossi's daughter follow leads to various countries in order to rescue him. Meanwhile, back in 1972, Paul soon goes missing, and thus the 1972 narrative then turns to the search for Paul. And while she searches, the enterprising girl also reads the yellowed letters she'd found that started it all, letters that provide the other storyline, that of Professor Rossi in the 1930's and his dangerous research into Dracula.
Got all that?
Sounds complicated, yes, but the threads of these stories presented via flashbacks, conversations and letters are woven together so well, and combined with excellent settings and three-dimensional characters, such that even the slightly disappointing punchline couldn't spoil it for me.
So, how about y'all? Read a particularly outstanding book lately? And what made it outstanding to you? I'm always looking for new and different authors, and would love to hear from you in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
p/s: This blog will now return to its regular programming. In the meantime, please swing on by http://noweepingallowed.blogspot.com/ and say hi to Sarah, aight? And thanks again, hope y'all liked what you read here today. Bye!