Friday, 28 February 2014
The Year in Books: February
Cor, snuck this post into February by the skin of my teeth!
February's book was Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell. It was pretty much a dead cert that I was going to enjoy it - I have yet to read a book of hers that I haven't loved. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and The Hand That First Held Mine are both up there in my list of favourite ever books.
The first page of Instructions for a Heatwave documents the 1976 drought act and the only permitted uses of water. There was a somewhat pleasing irony that I was starting to read it on a day when our city centre had been flooded, the bridge across the river had been closed due to the volume of water, and the local swan population were been revelling in their expanded waterways. No drought here.
Maggie O'Farrell has that magical knack of translating human relationships to the printed page. I think it's that aspect of her writing that I love the most. The way she captures sibling rivalry, marital harmony (or lack of) and perceptions of love.
Maggie O'Farrell often writes about family secrets, untold stories and dark pasts. Instructions for a Heatwave is no different. The story starts when Robert Riordan tell his wife he's just popping out to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. What follows is the rediscovery of the strength of family ties, the remembering of a shared history and a secret that has been kept for decades.
Because this book was so unputdownable, I sped through it, reading chunks at a time when I got a chance for a solo weekend breakfast. And finished it so quickly, I managed to start another book in February - Girl Reading by Katie Ward, picked up for pennies from the local charity shop. I'll write more on that next month...