Monday, May 14, 2012

Gillespie and I

by Jane Harris
New York : Harper Perennial, 2012 (published in the UK in 2011).

Miss Harriet Baxter, in 1933, is writing her memoirs recounting events in 1888 when she traveled to Glasgow and befriending struggling artist Ned Gillespie and his family.

This is a difficult book to talk about without giving spoilers, but I shall try. I've given only a bare bones account of the plot because the brilliance of the book is the way the story unfolds as Harriet narrates her story and how the reader's interpretations evolve in the course of the story. As I was reading, I was struck by the thought that in young adult literature a first-person narration means that you can get to know a character because you're in their heads and reading their thoughts while in adult or literary fiction, you actually know the character less. It's a good book to read slowly, partly because of the writing, but mostly because it's deceptively complex. I'm still pondering the book, not sure exactly how much I liked it, but at the same time I want to find someone who's finished it so I can talk about it.

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