I've been awake early all week, probably along with all the other delicate sleeping souls who find any alteration to the clocks completely disruptive to their sleep pattern.For about a week after the hour is gained or lost I say to myself "well really the time is..." and though I should be still sound asleep at 7am, as really it's only 6am, it just doesn't work like that.The upside is that when it's really 4pm it's actually 5pm and time to leave work.
But early waking was no problem yesterday because I didn't think my day would go at all right unless I had finished reading The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.
It's odd how you can be reading other completely unrelated books and yet there are sudden overlaps in events or just similarities and contrasts and that is happening in strangely surreal and coincidental ways with all my fiction reads at the moment.
Sisters are featuring heavily, mannequins, Chopin and more.
Moving back and forth between 1930's and 1990's Edinburgh the heartbreaking story of Esme Lennox slowly unfolds, not only through her own memories of her childhood but also through those of her sister Kitty, now suffering from Alzheimer's so with perfect recall of events all those years ago.Esme, as sane as the day is long, has been released after 60 years in a psychiatric unit and you sift out and piece the events gradually, the ultimate jigsaw that only fits together as you approach the final pages.
Maggie O'Farrell has also resisted what must have been an overwhelming temptation to focus on the obvious; there is scant attention paid to Esme's reaction to the world she emerges into because that is not what this book is about. It's a book about the past and that is all I was interested in.
I was particularly impressed with the delineation of Alzheimer's.
Kitty's confusion interspersed with moments of complete lucidity has the potential to have any reader floundering in a sea of who what where chaos along with Kitty but Maggie O'Farrell has balanced all this perfectly and with sensitive accuracy.There is much sense in what Kitty says, you know she holds the key in amongst her desperation to remember things like the name of the metal frame with fabric around it hanging from the ceiling.I was reminded of the old nanny in my recent read of Facing the Light by Adele Geras.I don't think it can be easy for a writer to get this spot on, but both these do it great justice.
Excellent final twist in the tale and an altogether good but disturbing read, as someone mentioned in comments here.One of those books you'd read twice to spot the clues and pointers you may have missed first time around.
Next up for reading should be the Hillblog recommend The Ha-Ha by Jennifer Dawson which also jumped off the shelf at me in that second-hand bookshop foray last weekend but I'll need to absorb this one properly first.