Sunday, December 04, 2005

Banishing Verona (Margot Livesey)

I first heard of Margot Livesey at the Wisconsin Book Festival a few years ago, and I very much enjoyed hearing her read there. Livesey writes what have sometimes been called "literary mysteries," and I'd definitely say that is the case with Eva Moves the Furniture, the first book I read of hers, which I liked, definitely enough to go and read more of her books. As for the others I've read, literary? Very much so. Mysteries? I'm not so sure. I've read Criminals (all right), The Missing World (pretty good), and now Banishing Verona, which I have to admit is probably the one I like least of them all. In this book, her latest, there is still the very distinct Margot Livesey voice, which can be a bit too literary for me at times. But the story (house painter and seven-months-pregnant lady have a mysterious brief encounter and then become intertwined throughout the book without ever really seeing each other again until the end) didn't really work for me. Maybe it was too psychological or too literary, I don't know.

I know there are many things I'd rather talk about than Banishing Verona. Like how today, after 4+ years cohabitating or being married, Jim and I went and picked out our first ever Christmas tree (we'd always traveled to the relatives for Christmas, but this year, they're coming to us). It took three tree lots and two tree stands, but we found the perfect one, took it home, and decorated it. The cat's having a grand time drinking tree water to her heart's content, and the tree sure smells good.

Good books: I'd recommend both Eva Moves the Furniture and The Missing World over this one. The first one features ghosts (Scottish ghosts, nonetheless) and in the second one, not only does a main character have a major case of amnesia (we're talking years missing), she's in danger too.

Next book up: Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

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