First Words

Hello World,

And if you’re a reader of books of many types, I hope there will be something of interest.

For various reasons, at the moment I spend a lot of time reading books. From libraries, bookshops, charity shops, borrowed and found. There are some historical murder mysteries, Persephone books, series of books, books by specific authors, recommended and reviewed books, even those on offer that I couldn’t refuse!

I belong to two book groups and a writing group. I hope to produce at least two book posts a week, but who knows. To start off with I’ll be mentioning books that I’ve read in the recent past, and wonder where it will lead.

A little about me. I read Law at Cambridge in the dark ages and I more recently completed an OU MA in English Literature. I am at home because of family circumstances at the moment, but have worked as a lawyer and supply teacher.

I’ve called this blog “Northern Reader” as I moved to the North of England as a result of my husband’s work in the summer of 2008. Is the lifestyle here more encouraging to reading? Possibly, we shall see.

The first book is “The House of Orphans” by Helen Dunmore.

I had not previously read any of Dunmore’s books, though the beginning of “The Siege” has been used as an example  of amazing writing of place. Not being a great traveller, I cannot conclusively say that the sense of place in Dunmore’s description of Finland is correct, but others have said that her evocation of all enveloping forest is accurate. The trees are at once confining and invested with personality, and produce different reactions in the various characters in the book.The Doctor sees them as part of his home, his memories and future.  His wife saw them as threatening. The book describes the progress of Eva, taken into the House of Orphans when her dissident father dies. This is an age of political unrest, suspicion of neighbours,  unwarranted arrests and loyalties.

It is a book of the sacrifice of love, and it has been criticised for its inconclusive ending. I do not think it is aimed to solve or describe a closely bound plot. It is more about a journey, from childhood to the reality of adulthood, of adult emotions replacing childhood confusions, from the physical settings affecting lifestyles and choices. The most moving section, I believe, is the recounting of the Doctor taking Eva to catch her train to her new/old life in the city.  He is desperate to capture the experience of each moment, knowing that this could well be the last time that he sees her. He facilitates her leaving, but cannot bear that she is going. It is a book of innocence, yet also the deliberate betrayal of those who interfere, who are frightened of being ignored.

This is a book that I wondered whether I would enjoy, but which had to be experienced. A worthwhile read.

I hope to post about another book soon. Thank you for reading this far!