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Book review: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

The Gap of TimeThe Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never having read A Winter’s Tale, the Shakespeare play on which this novel is based, I waded into The Gap of Time with no preconceived notions. The lack of familiarity wasn’t a hindrance, however; Jeanette Winterson thoughtfully provides a synopsis of the play before the novel begins; even that synopsis is unnecessary unless one is looking for the similarities and parallels. I wasn’t, and so I enjoyed the novel for its own sake.

Briefly, Leo Kaiser suspects his pregnant wife MiMi is cheating on him with his best friend Xeno, and believes that the child she carries is not his own. He mistreats her so badly that she leaves him, but not until he steals her newborn daughter. A series of miscommunications result in the infant being abandoned in a “Baby Hatch” and subsequently adopted and lost to her birth family. Some seventeen years later, circumstances bring unknowing child and unwitting parent together.

I loved young Perdita and Zel; Perdita’s adoptive father Shep is warm and gruff and sweet; Xeno and MiMi are beautiful and tragic…the only character for whom I couldn’t find any redemption was Leo, who is unremittingly awful to the point of caricature throughout the entire novel.

Leo aside, there is some gorgeous writing in this novel. I really should have marked the passages I found particularly lovely. Nicely done, Ms. Winterson.

Thank you to LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for the opportunity to read this book.

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Posted in Book review

Book review: In The Company Of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy

In the Company of Angels: A NovelIn the Company of Angels: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bernardo Greene is a survivor of torture. Michela Ibsen is a survivor of domestic abuse. In The Company of Angels is the story of their respective healing journeys, alone, and then together. Thomas Kennedy’s spare elegant prose touches lightly on their sorrow, their pain, but this light touch reveals the depth of their damaged lives, and the damaged lives of the people who surround them. Bernardo struggles in solitude, opening up slowly, in fits and starts, only to his psychiatrist, and only to retreat once again when he feels he has revealed too much, until a chance meeting with Michela elicits a moment of hope, and this moment is a seed in frozen soil, until the spring when it thaws and pushes its tender shoots out of the ground into the light. Michela, on the other hand, has a lover, has a father, has a mother, all of whom hurt and continue to cause hurt, whether intentional or by happenstance, until her meeting with Bernardo allows a solitary ray of hope to enter her dark existence, and she begins to find her true self beneath the layers of lies she’s accepted as truth. And in the end, no one is too damaged to find some measure of salvation, some measure of peace, even if it’s only for a brief moment of clarity.

This book received through the Early Reviewers Giveaway at LibraryThing.

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