That's the sound of a contented sigh. What brought it about? The last few books that I have read, all of which have been good. My faith in humanity is reaffirmed.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and Broken Harbor are both hugely popular books, which usually means I approach them with fear and trepidation because however much I try, I always go in with heightened expectations. At the back of my mind is always that niggling naysayer.
But both of these more than lived up to the expectations. Isn't that always such a relief?
What is the book about? It's about the redemption of a self-absorbed woman. No, not exactly. It's a quest of a fifteen-year old to find her mom. Not totally. It's about mistakes. It's a family story. It is a mystery. It is a story told in multiple points of view via email and letters and regular prose interwoven together. It's about Microsoft and robotics and penguins and Antarctica and architecture and Seattle and artists becoming the menace of society.
(I really would love to know the elevator pitch of this one. Or even the synopsis.)
The novel contains all of the above yet (cliche alert!) the result is not only so much more than the sum of its parts, it is a totally different species.
It is a story well told that is in part hilarious, without overt cleverness, and in part sad. The traits of the characters are scarily recognizable and unlike my prose here, not cliched-ridden. If I were told earlier on that the story would be told partially through email and letters from different povs, I'd conclude that it was a lazy choice, a gimmick. But it's not. Or maybe it is, but I didn't care. I was drawn into the story and its characters, without really identifying with Bernadette nor her daughter, Bee (just who is the main protagonist, anyway?) and was willingly being taken along for the ride.
A great ride. A wonderful read.
(Next up, my thoughts on Broken Harbor.)