Monday, 30 July 2007

The Tenderness of Wolves

It's good to challenge one's prejudices occasionally. The blurb for "The Tenderness of Wolves", by Stef Penney, begins "1867, Canada", and I would normally read no further - old plus cold doesn't sound, to me, like a winning combination. But my friend M. passed on this beautifully written novel - which won the 2006 Costa book award - and I enjoyed it very much even though it did indeed make me shiver. I also think it's one of the few books I have enjoyed that is written in the present tense. A couple of extracts:
"She considers herself a well-travelled woman, and from each place she has been to, she has brought back a prejudice as a souvenir."
"Trying to make sense of it is like trying to gather the river in his arms."

Now I learn from
here that the author is a Scot and has never been to Canada, in fact she used to suffer from severe agoraphobia. How amazing that a writer can travel so vividly in her imagination, and take the reader along with her. Although, as one of the reviewers wrote, she also hadn't been to 1867, and as someone else said, the past is another country (L.P. Hartley, in "The Go-Between", which begins ""The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.").


At 2/8/07 09:58, Blogger b o o said...

i'm going to get it at kinokuniya, thanks Q.


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