August 24, 2008
Another gorgeous Sunday in Northern California finds me reading some wonderful literature.
Yesterday my husband and I took advantage of the warm weather and went for a five mile hike in Lassen National Volcanic Park. The views were magnificent and the peace we found walking among the scrub pines and around crystalline lakes was a blessing. Sometimes the fast pace of life makes me forget to slow down and enjoy the beauty around me.
Since the last Sunday Salon I finished Sweetsmoke by David Fuller (read my review). This is a rich historical novel which I greatly enjoyed. Thanks to Hyperion Books and the author, I am hosting a give-away of the book – you can win a signed, first edition, hard cover copy of the novel. Go here to read more and to sign up to win!
I am currently swept up in The Colour by Rose Tremain. Tremain’s novel is set in the vast beauty of New Zealand. A young married couple – Joseph and Harriet Blackstone – along with Joseph’s demanding mother Lillian have arrived from England to establish their home and chase their dreams. For Joseph, it is also a place where he has come to flee his past.
Because what he felt as he surveyed the flats or turned and looked up towards the distant mountains was a sudden surge of hope. He was here. He was in the South Island of New Zealand, the place they called Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud. Though he had done a terrible thing in England, he had survived. The future lay around him, in the stones, in the restless water of the creek, in the distant forest. -From The Colour, page 7-
The characters are beautifully written and Tremain’s prose is gorgeous. I am so thoroughly enjoying this book that I have slowed down in my reading to savor it. Have any of you read Tremain’s work before? She won the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction for her novel The Road Home; and my reading friends have gushed over her novel Music and Silence (which I have on my TBR mountain thanks to a book buddy).
This morning I spent some time reading short stories. I read An Ex-Mas Feast by Uwem Akpan (read my review) which was powerful and stark. Bookmarks Magazine (which just arrived in my mailbox yesterday!) has a fabulous review of Say You’re One of Them by this author. It is a collection of short stories which includes An Ex-Mas Feast. I’ve added it to my wish list.
I also continue to read from Alice Munro’s collection entitled The View from Castle Rock. This morning I read Hired Girl from this collection. Set on an island, it tells the story of a young girl who has come to work as hired help for the wealthy Montjoy family. The story explores the definition of place – the idea of actual physical place (the island) and place meaning one’s place in society. it is also the story of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood and sexual awakening. Munro’s prose is accessible and rich. I plan on reading the next story – The Ticket – later this afternoon.
The afternoon is wide open today and the porch beckons. Our resident redtail hawks have been circling and crying overhead and there is a light breeze which keeps the temperatures comfortable. I’m planning on immersing myself back in Tremain’s New Zealand world for a time. What will you be doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it is relaxing.