I am not sure why I chose to read this one – was it a kindle daily or monthly deal? I wasn’t that taken with Miller’s Valley, but I really enjoyed this one.
Here is the blurb …
The tensions in a tight-knit neighborhood—and a seemingly happy marriage—are exposed by an unexpected act of violence in this provocative new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miller’s Valley and Still Life with Bread Crumbs.
Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life—except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. Then one morning she returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the fault lines begin to open: on the block, at her job, especially in her marriage. With humor, understanding, an acute eye, and a warm heart, Anna Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.
This is Nora’s story and we see how her life changes over the years – being a young wife, the early years of motherhood, navigating a career and motherhood, life as an ’empty nester’ and the gradual drifting apart of a marriage. It is beautifully and generously written (all of the characters are sympathetic – except for the man with the pugs!).
I am not sure where I came across this novel. I am quite sure I didn’t buy it. I might have received it when my friend was having a book cull.
Here’s the blurb …
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, Miller’s Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget. For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be -a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.- Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, -No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.- Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.
I read this book while on holiday (Club Med on Bin Tan Island). This should have been the perfect novel for me, but I struggled. Wrong time? Wrong place? Who knows? Perhaps this one is not for me. I left it behind for someone else to enjoy. There are good reviews out there so don’t let me put you off.
Life has got in the way of my book blogging – I have been super busy and then I was ill, but today I am stuck at home (work being done on the house), so I am getting a few things crossed off the job list.
I think this is my first Quindlen novel – I have read an essay she wrote, but this is my first piece of fiction.
Here is the blurb …
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.
I found myself getting quite anxious while I read this novel – Rebecca is very concerned about her finances (the idea of being old and poor must be a universal concern), what do the white crosses mean? Who is leaving little shrines in isolated parts of the forest? It is a beautifully written, quiet story about a middle-aged woman whose success is fading, who with a dwindling income is supporting her aging parents financially (and occasionally her son) and trying to pay the fees on her Central Park apartment, but who rescues herself and finds new artistic direction and a quirky (but supportive) community. This probably all sounds a bit trite, but the writing (beautiful detail and characterisation) make it something quite interesting.