Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reading A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee

The transition from winter to spring has always been my most painful seasonal change. I find mud season abhorrent, and with all the snow on the ground, we'll have plenty of mud for at least the next month--unless, of course, we are hit with another snowstorm, which will further delay our drying out.

So it hasn't been an accident that I've been ordering new library books like crazy. At the moment I'm enjoying A Thousand Pardons by the American writer Jonathan Dee, published in the last few weeks. I'm loving it but have had trouble pinpointing exactly why I like it so much. Dee's writing is exceptional, no doubt about it. The sentences flow beautifully, and I feel enwrapped by the language, page after page. Then there's the character of Helen, the wife of a philandering lawyer, who has managed to disgrace his entire family. In any other book, I would have a difficult time sympathizing with Helen, a woman who has strictly avoided doing anything of consequence with her life, but she surprises herself with her gutsiness just as she surprises me. She is the most unlikely of heroines, yet...she is that and more. This is a brief novel, at around 213 pages, yet it is not at all diminished by the limited number of pages. I must read other novels by Dee! His novel The Privileges was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2010. His other writing has been highly acclaimed and is award-winning as well, though for some reason, I've never heard of him. I shake my head when I discover an exquisite writer I've overlooked.

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