Bodies of Light – Sarah Moss
I read Tidal Zone and loved it, so when I saw this at the library I was keen to read it.
Here is the blurb …
Bodies of Light is a deeply poignant tale of a psychologically tumultuous nineteenth century upbringing set in the atmospheric world of Pre-Raphaelitism and the early suffrage movement. Ally (older sister of May in Night Waking), is intelligent, studious and engaged in an eternal – and losing – battle to gain her mother’s approval and affection. Her mother, Elizabeth, is a religious zealot, keener on feeding the poor and saving prostitutes than on embracing the challenges of motherhood. Even when Ally wins a scholarship and is accepted as one of the first female students to read medicine in London, it still doesn’t seem good enough. The first in a two-book sequence, Bodies of Light will propel Sarah Moss into the upper echelons of British novelists. It is a triumphant piece of historical fiction and a profoundly moving master class in characterisation.
Completely different from Tidal Zone although there are similar concerns – medicine and motherhood. This one is historical fiction set in the late 19 the century – women are finally entering universities to study medicine, the industrial revolution is well underway, trains, factories, squalor, poverty and prostitution.
There is a fabulous review here – much better than I could write -and it has made me aware of more novels. I will definitely be tracking them down.
The Tidal Zone – Sarah Moss
I read about this book here – and as I tend to enjoy everything recommended by dovergreyreader, I decided promptly to download it to my kindle.
Here is the blurb …
Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed. In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn’t dare to look, and the result is riveting – unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and a writer of luminous intelligence.
This novel is beautifully written – a compelling page turner about modern families, working and non-working parents, the over-whelming fear, panic and guilt that come with an ill child. It also to some extent explores different life/work choices.
This novel explores what it is like to be a parent in today’s world – where paying the mortgage and supporting a family are harder than ever before, the unrelenting grind of domesticity, a world where you are judged by your job (or lack of one).
More reviews …