Monday, 9 May 2011

Barbara Kingsolver

     What a treat Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer is.  I read The Poisonwood Bible three years ago, during a summer camping trip;  if there had been a television, I may never have finished it, although I find abandoning books very difficult.
     It seemed over-lengthy, the characters didn't interest me, and I didn't like any of them, particularly. The whole flavour of the novel seemed  bleak and depressing to me. I may be being unfair, as I am writing this in retrospect.  Since then, I've heard others rave about it, and wondered what I missed. 
     Then my wonderful book-lending friend passed Prodigal Summer on to me, and pointed out it was by the same author (my wonderful book-lending friend had been entranced by The Poisonwood Bible). 
     I didn't find the cover very alluring, and the blurb failed to pull me in; I think the whole previous experience was putting me off.  It sat on my bedside table for months, and I always selected another over it.  At last, this week, I picked it up, having steeled myself to trudge through it. I was intending to read two pages, just to kick start myself.  An hour later,  I had to force myself to put it down, already lost to it.  I've read it greedily for the past week, and finished it, a little regretful, yesterday - regretful that there wasn't more.  The skill and craft of Barbara Kingsolver shone on every page;  I was enchanted by the writing and the voices, and cared about every character, even the cranky ones.  I adored the way the narrative was woven so that the separate stories intersected at last; there were a couple of surprises along the way, a frankness that I loved, and so much to learn about a far away place and people. It has left me feeling sated in a way a book hasn't for a while. In fact, every time I walk past it, I get a little jolt of pleasure that I can sit and read it when I've finished a few jobs, and then remember that I've already come to the end.  
     The only thing is, it's knocked my confidence in my writing . I know I can't do that, and I wish I could. 

No comments:

Post a Comment