I read a review of this book somewhere (probably The Australian Review) and thought it sounded interesting and then I found a copy on sale at Borders – it was meant to be.
The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzles — did you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales? — Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, her siblings, and her children; she shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.
This was a lovely book to read – part memoir part jigsaw history. There were anecdotes from her friends and acquaintances about their ‘jigsaw puzzling’. Drabble uses a chatty style – it is like you’re sitting at her table doing a puzzle together.
And yes, I did feel motivated to do a jigsaw puzzle. I like the idea that it is always possible to complete the puzzle you just need time and a bit of discipline.
I liked this book so much I’ve moved on to The Witch of Exmoor.
Here are some more reviews …