A master storyteller is like a master weaver. The story is in the knots of a carpet, the stitches in the designs embroidered on a purse or in the words of a book. And when one is brought to pause in awe of the artistry or able to feel the prickle of the sun on their skin when the world outside them is shrouded in snow, that is the mark of a good storyteller. I cried for days when I finished Mark Helprin's "A Winter's Tale", it was less embarrassing to let my employer think it was boyfriend woes that had me weeping into dirty dish water than because I finally had to close the covers on perhaps my favourite leading man ever,... horse? author? Who can really tell.
Salman Rushdie's "The Enchantress of Florence" is another transporting read. A storyteller telling the story of his life, for his life and sometimes it seems to take a lifetime to tell but just as I thought "This is lovely, where is it going?", so too does the audience in the book, reflecting Rushdie's ability to play with and read the reader. Our impatience is well rewarded. It begs the question of identity, that which we create for ourselves and that which is thrust upon us by friends, family and adoring, or less than-, subjects. Of Love true, for possession, for perfection created from fantasy, as a stepping stone in the river of destiny and for survival. A swash-buckling adventure with all the hedonism, barbarism, heroism and intrigue of a long ago time set in the sumptuous surrounds of a Mughal palace and a younger Florence. A compelling beginning and surprising ending to a tale that takes you on a magical journey through history and culture far removed from this reality.
While reading the The Enchantress, Jennie handed me a copy of "Twilight" with as much despair as Jennie can muster, "This is what the teenagers are reading!!" Twilight is the second book in Stephanie Meyers trashy Vampire series and all I can say is this is crack in print. Keep your daughters away from this heaping pile of fragrant wierdness. If not for the atrocious messages this woman is sending to youth about young women in love and their choices of men who are nothing but a TERRIBLE MISTAKE, (why is the most popular series for youth about a girl who is helpless, hopeless and downright pathetic without the monster in Armani clothing, who by the way is a hero and a good guy because he resists his natural urges to kill her,?) then it might be for the fact that Meyers and her esteemed editor publish every infinitive form of the verb in the negative SPLIT!!! Stephanie darling, does Hamlet say "To be, or to not be"? That is the question. And therein lies the answer. You cannot find these books at this bookstore.
More interested in intrigue, espionage and suspence than murder, I have resisted the Murder Mystery genre until lying bored in my sickbed I picked up "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Well, I spent the morning at the cafe with Stieg Larsson (dosing up on Vitamin D, essential for rapid healing), took him to the beach for the afternoon and stayed up most of the night with him until it was sensible to read something less intriguing, less stimulating and just less overall in order to get to sleep. I am fascinated by how he weaves these technicolour threads together. This is my first real foray into murder mysteries since Agatha Christie and I'm so glad I initiated it with Larsson. His tapestry is fine!