I've been very neglectful of late of keeping up on my reading here. I have hit the busy time at work and most days I come home and am ready to just drop into bed after I eat and get my things ready for the next day. Last night I pulled out my laptop and turned it on in preparation for a proper Tuesday Teaser, but it just didn't happen. So, I will share a teaser today (teasers are good any day of the week, right?) of a book that has become a surprise hit for me.
When I was looking about the web for bloggers who were giving their predictions for the longlist before the announcement one book seemed to keep popping up all over the place, Jessie Greengrass's Sight. I tend to be a pretty predictable reader. I like certain types of books, certain types of stories and certain settings. I know I have a comfort zone I mostly stay inside of. And it always helps when a story is one I can relate to. Not being a mother I don't often immediately reach for books about motherhood. I know it's silly, since reading is about expanding horizons and reading about the not known. So, when this book kept popping up I thought if it gets on the list I will save it for later rather than sooner. However, it was one of the books the library had sooner rather than later, so I took it home and dipped in and found I did not want to put it down. (Lesson to me to never assume I will not like something or be able to relate to it!).
So Sight is an interesting story. It's about a young woman who is trying to decide whether or not to have a child. She has just come out of dealing with the illness and subsequent death of her mother. Interlaced with these storylines are some historical bits about the discovery of the X-ray and Freud's work with psychoanalysis. While I am not sure how it will all come together in the end, her writing is so lyrical I am moved by it. More, however, is the story of the death of the character's mother. Having just dealt with the passing of my father last fall those scenes are particularly poignant and she has had me near tears on more than one occasion. What I most love about books and reading are these moments where I feel like the author has gotten inside my head and so eloquently tells what I am thinking and feeling and experiencing.
So I am slowly reading and appreciating Jessie Greengrass's lovely prose and her amazing storytelling abilities. If she does not make the shortlist I will hugely disappointed. I'm only reading one other book from the list at the moment (which I am also greatly enjoying), but this is a book that deserves accolades in my opinion.
Yesterday I was reading this bit, which comes just after the death of her mother when she is sort of drifting along trying to find her way once again.
"All morning in the library I would sit at my desk, flicking through contents pages and indexes, appendices, photo captions, chapter headings, following this lead or that little way until I became distracted or until it was time for lunch, a slice of quiche or tart and a salad in the library cafe, and then often in the afternoons I would give up even that pretense of activity, setting a book to lie open in front of me, the pages rustling softly in the breeze from the open window, and allow myself to drift through the brackish backwaters of the afternoon, the roar of traffic from the road outside a lulling constancy. I stayed each day until the library was almost closed, until the assistant librarians came round with their trolleys to pick up that day's cast-off texts and until the sound of a hoover started up in a distant corridor; and then at the last possible moment, dragging my feet, I would dawdle back out into the street--and although at the time the sound of pages turning seemed to grind against me until I worried that I might be worn away by it to nothing, now I recall that long summer as though it had been spent within a papery cocoon. I had been reduced to nothing, and now I sought amongst so many books a new way to understand myself by analogy, a pattern recognized in other lives which might be drawn across my own to give it shape and, given shape, to give it impetus, direction. The things which I learned without noticing all through that year recur to me still, those images from medical textbooks, the bodies dissected or described, the case notes and the cabinets and all the many ways there are to see inside ourselves, and still I feel that, correctly understood, they might constitute a key--."
Wow. See, I understand that searching and that drifting as that is what I feel like I am going through now, too. Even if our choices and situations and trajectories are vastly different, that underlying emotion is exactly the same. I have a library copy of the book, but I think this is one I am going to buy to keep on my shelves.