The Books Piled Beside the Bed – Pt 4

 

the-wonder

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

She wrote ‘Room’ which was made into a movie.  Did you see it?

In The Wonder Emma Donoghue was inspired by the phenomenon known as ‘the fasting girls’. apparently wide spread in terms of both global reach and ages, with fifty cases documented and no conclusions necessarily drawn.  She tells the story of Lib, an ‘educated sceptic’, a nurse trained under the great Florence Nightingale who is summoned to Ireland to become an observer of an 11 year old girl, Anna, said to have been months without food yet still thriving.  Entering into an impoverished and pious household Lib is determined to discover the truth.  How is the child being secretly fed, by whom?

It’s hard to feel warmth for Lib as she bumbles about in a community that makes no sense to her.  Yet as her heart warms towards the child, so we warm to towards her. It’s an engrossing story, with an unexpected ending.  How far would you go for the love of a child?

Image result for the muse by jessie burton

The Muse by Jessie Burton

This is her second novel, the first being ‘The Miniaturist’ which I reviewed relatively unfavourably ages ago.   I was assured this was a very different read.

It was.  It is unusual, intriguing, multi-layered and contains a bit of a mystery…… a great mix for any novel!  The story moves in place and time between London in the late 60’s to Spain thirty years earlier.  We meet two young women, both it seems dealing with a feeling of inadequacy about their art, unsure of who they are and what their place in the world might be.

It begins in London, 1967 where Odelle Bastien, originally from Trinidad and now living in London for five years is still looking to find her place –   a home, a good job and publishing success.  Abruptly life changes when Odelle is offered a typists position at a London Art Gallery under the tutelage of the glamorous Marjorie Quick.  About the same time a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The story moves to Spain 1936 as Civil War breaks out and the Schloss family, Harold and Sarah and their 19 year old daughter Olive take a finca and become acquainted with the young artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his sister Teresa.   The five become entwined as danger and unrest moves ever nearer and tragedy unfurls around them.

Moving between the two stories a mystery builds and I enjoyed following the clues that lead to the eventual outcome – not quite what I expected it to be!

Image result for salisbury square by geoff le pard

Salisbury Square by Geoff Le Pard

I’ll start by saying this is a book I would definitely not have chosen to read had it not been written by a writer I admire and fellow blogger and Master of All Genres Geoff Le Pard.   On his blog, Geoff  practises  his art, flexing his typing fingers and  letting his imagination go where it will with weekly doses of short or shorter writing prompts.   And nearly every one of ’em a gem!  Many of his stories are humorous.  This novel however, is not one of that kind!

The subject matter is grim, the reality gritty and Geoff pulls few punches in leading his readers into the harsh, sad world of the underbelly of London.  Peopled by survivors of dysfunctional families, featuring the lot of immigrant workers, drug addiction, homelessness and hopelessness and dealing with survival, betrayal and revenge.   I found it hard going at first.  The situation is grim from the start, the characters are not easy to love, their lives are messy, they are messy and things just keep getting messier.  Despite this however, somehow I was drawn in.  Empathy kicked in. Once that happened I was hooked, I needed to know somehow, somewhere, there would be redemption for someone.

The chapters are short – and get shorter as the book progresses.     Each chapter is headed by a place and a time.   This becomes imperative reading as the novel progresses and the pace picks up.  The short chapter format is an excellent device, it’s like watching a movie where the scenes switch between two or more places as the characters reveal more of themselves, as the tension builds and we sit on the edge of our seats, holding our breaths watching, waiting, hoping  ……  Every time I review one of Geoff’s books it seems I can see it as a movie.  This one is no exception.  The first was a comedy, the second a drama and this one gets filed under ‘bleak’ as in films like, say, ‘Trainspotting: I and II’ (and I say this without ever having seen either of those particular films, but I saw the trailers and that was enough for me).

Bleak!  But as I closed the book there was a certain satisfaction, there was redemption,  there was heart, there was hope.  And I realised I had grown to know and become fond of many of the characters that  shuffled through the pages.  And that, from this reader’s point of view, is quite something!

I have just one harsh criticism to deliver Mr Le Pard sir.  Please don’t end your book on page 280 and without blinking give me Chapter 1 of your next novel on page 281.  I needed time to sit and think and relive what I had just read and to allow the characters to file before me so I could weigh and measure and say – well, yes, there was redemption and there is hope.  And to stare at a blank page while doing so.  This is how I come to terms with the end of a good story.   At that precise point I didn’t give a damn about either Buster or Moo!  (But now of course I’m quite looking forward to reading that tale!)

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So there we go folks, three of my latest reads – from which I learn that judging a book by it’s cover (or it’s predecessor) may not necessarily allow me the opportunity to widen my world view or deepen my understanding of people.  I’m grateful to all three authors for taking me into unexpected places and thereby enriching me and adding to my gratitude for the life I live!!

If you’ve read any of these books please do chime in with your responses and if you haven’t read them, stick them on your ‘books to read’ list ……  I’d love to know what you think afterwards.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Mystery On the Easel Phase VI

It is done – and what a marathon!  I have to thank you, my dearly beloved regular and loyal readers – or in this case, viewers – who came by with so many thoughts and guesses and questions and who inspired me to tweak a little here and adapt a little there until the final version appeared.

So here we go folks, for the last time let’s recap and see where it did end up

Phase 1

Phase1

Phase II

Phase 2

Phase III

Phase3

Phase IV

Phase4

Phase V

6 Phase 5

We Are All Made Of Stardust

8 Phase6 cropped

Detail pics

9 Phase 6 detail1

10 Phase 6 detail2

I always knew it was going to be a dream catcher drifting in the wind.  I did not know until you interacted with me that it would become a dream catcher drifting through the cosmos, gathering stardust and starlight.  Carl Sagan’s words came to me as I began the final work on the many little galaxies and universes scattered about:

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
― Carl Sagan – Cosmos

And having mentioned Mr Sagan, how can we not end without going there, to his Pale Blue Dot

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Mystery On the Easel Phase V

Here we go folks, I just know you’re wondering where we are at with this. Here’s Phase V – I wasn’t happy for the longest time with what happened and I forgot to take photos so you have this to go one with.  It’s nearly there …….

Phase 1

Phase1

Phase II

Phase 2

Phase III

Phase3

Phase IV

Phase4

Phase V

6 Phase 5

Can you see where it’s going now?

Maybe, perhaps, some of you might have a vague memory of this page from my art journal last year – this was the piece that inspired this latest experiment

dreamcatcher-14-oct

Phase VI, the final phase is almost ready to show.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Mystery on the Easel Phase II

Hello my friends!  Just for Kerry who became a bit concerned by his prolonged absence, the header features my lovely Orlando who has been usurped from his position of star of this blog by the cute, bouncy and camera ready Siddy.  Orlando doesn’t like cameras very much, he believes they are out to steal his soul and acts accordingly.  He is however in good health and spirits and spends a lot of time curled up by Siddy or stealing Siddy’s favourite spot (my knee) or Siddy’s second favourite spot (beside me in my big chair) and generally causing Siddy reasons for consternation.  All is well in Orlando’s world.  ❤

So, on with the business at hand.  We are looking at the progress of a painting – who knows what will happen!

Just to refresh your memory, in the last post you saw this

Phase1

Now here is Phase II

Phase 2

Where is this going?  Any thoughts?

Phase III is maybe a couple of days away, see you then.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

Where Does the Time Go?

Heavens, I’m in catch-up mode again!  Time flew by with ED here for a week, YD on three weeks break and needing daily visits by Siddy, which were mostly fitted in soon after the morning walk and second breakfast so that he arrived for elevenses ……..  Then there was our promotion at the retirement home from half hour ambling visits where Siddy trots around smiling at everyone and I get made happy by watching eyes light up and sparks of life sparkle out of tired old eyes.  We were asked to widen our brief and include helping out at the two hour crafting session every week, of course I said yes.   And  of course there is painting and crafting time to fit in here somewhere.  So the days have simply been eaten up by the minute munching monsters.

Here’s Siddy posing with his Aunty Jo – show that boy a camera and he puts on his best sartorial pose

March 2017

The lovely Alys  purchased two items from my collection on Vida when it first opened.  One she purchased secretly and sent straight to me, reducing me to tears of wonder, gratitude and astonishment that I had such a generous and kind friend.  You may remember my disappointment when I discovered I couldn’t afford to purchase my own designs as the shipping cost was astronomical.  Well, now I have a lovely tote bag and here’s me still looking somewhat stunned at the event, just arrived at YD’s in time for elevenses……..

Tote March 2017

A week or so later and the lovely Alys sent me photos of her Inky Doodle design scarf that she purchased from Vida.  Photographed by her youngest son, Alys rocks the colourful fabric and is well on her way to becoming the world’s next super model.  And isn’t the fabric gorgeous, I am so happy to see my doodles come to life like this.  It’s simply great!

Pauline King design alys

After prolonged imploring from three people I agreed to reopen my collection on Vida.  My stance remains that it is a pyramid selling scheme and therefore not ethical – but it allows my work to reach a wider audience and to be taken down from the wall and worn.  I am made happy when my friends and family are happy and, as I make art to spread joy, and Vida allows that process to happen we have, it seems, reached accord.

There’s a painting on the easel, this is phase 1, where do you think it might be heading?

Phase1

We’ve been mostly enjoying lovely late summer weather this month, which has been much appreciated  and greeted with cries of ‘Better late than never’ and ‘Great Scott, what is that bright yellow orb in the sky?’  We have taken heart, all is not lost for our Blogging Babes reunion this time next year!  (That’s a teaser, more on this later)

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!