Daniel Pitt is a WWI flying ace who struggles to fid purpose after surviving the war – what to do with life inexplicably left over. His story from 1925-45 includes Ceylon, England, France and Germany. His marriage to Rosie slowly disintegrates, and Rosie acquires a remarkably mean-spirited persona. And there are Rosie’s three sisters, each strong individual characters. The story evolves in short chapters with different points-of-view. Overall, a compelling story of complex relationships in post-war and pre-war contexts.
Amy adds: Louis De Bernieres also wrote The Dust that Falls from Dreams, and the excellent Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
An odd couple makes a trip to Nice France. Noah is a 79-year-old recently-widowed childless retired University professor; Michael is his 11-year-old great-nephew who Noah has never met. Their wildly disparate backgrounds create both considerable conflict and humour as they investigate a series of World War II photographs from Noah’s mother. This is a wondrously written story of love, loss and family.
Faulks is a superb writer (A Week in December) and this latest novel continues his tradition of literary excellence. Above all, the story is a love letter to Paris, with two interesting and vastly dissimilar characters. Hannah is a 31-year-old American historian researching the experiences of Parisienne women during World War II. Tariq is a 19-year-old from Morocco looking for … something. There are echoes of the past in the present that are fascinating. This is a thought-provoking story with two memorable characters: highly recommended.
An engrossing story of two people’s 2000-km 90-day journey from Cluny, France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the Chemin St. Jacques aka Camino de Santiago. Zoe is a 45 year old Californian whose partner has died recently. Martin is a 52 year old recently-divorced engineer from Yorkshire, England. Their separate but interlinked journeys offer introspective musings on human truths: that life is complicated and that relationships can be difficult. Nothing earth shattering in the content but presented in a very pleasing and satisfactory manner, and the context of the journey is superb.
(Graeme Simsion wrote the The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect)
Also from the CBC Books winter reading list: Most of this short but exquisite book takes place in the 15th century Mont Saint-Michel monastery: books and grief are the eternal themes, in the era of libraries as the keeper of knowledge just before the Gutenberg press invention.