Where My Heart Used to Beat
Sebastian Faulks weaves a tale of battles in his book and although the happenings are centered in France, the book is more European in angle, than French. There is an English doctor by the name of Robert Hendricks, who like any ordinary fellow, has had ups-and-downs in his life. It is the 20th century and he has a host, Alexander Pereira, who appears to know Robert better than himself. A flashback shows the reader glimpses of the war in Italy (1944), fragmented love and visionary tasks in the sixties. What I liked about the book was that it takes you down a journey through memory lane and the subject are world wars and the pieces of the last century.
In the Cold War days of the sixties, there are too many spies abound. Politics is busy hiding things, and doing it very well, when Simon Callington is arrested on suspicions that he has given an important file to the Soviets. Filled with suspense, the story then unravels that Callington’s wife, Lily, however, believes the whole episode involving Callington is a sham. Her own life is in danger, so are her children’s, and she absurdly seems to go on about how Callington’s confinement is related to people in power avoiding ruin, in the face of Simon hiding truths himself, possibly including a crime which might prove costlier than the one he is already accused of committing.
Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories
A 2009 Pulitzer-prize winner and a Waterstones Fiction Book Of The Month (August), this novel by Elizabeth Strout is about a schoolteacher, Olive Kitteridge, with a marriage that is sometimes fragile, and at other times complete. She lives in a coastal town in Maine, and has the rare ability to look into the hearts of people and glimpse their biggest accomplishments and darkest calamities. The story also involves Olive comforting a young boy, who is in deep pain for a mother he no longer has, and her son who is sinking under Olive’s emotional complexities; I like that the book can be both light and dramatic at the same time.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
In the late 1800s, Thaniel Steepleton, a telegraphist at the Home Office, escapes with his life (with the help of a gold pocketwatch) from a blast in Scotland Yard. Previously, Steepleton’s office faced a threat of a huge Fenian bombing, and now Scotland Yard lies in tatters. Since the watch manages to save his live, he searches (and meets) it’s maker: Keita Mori, an immigrant who introduces him to a universe of clockwork (and music). Mori soon emerges as a character with something to hide, and it makes the novel all the more intriguing. Meanwhile, theoretical physicist, Grace Carrow goes into the Oxford library disguised as a man to prove a theory before she is forced into a marriage by her mother; I think the book is a great blend of suspense and history.