I started to read The Reserve by Russell Banks and published by Bloomsbury, the very same day that I had aquired Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and I think I could be forgiven for thinking there just might be a tiny connection given the covers of the two books.
I've been meaning to explore Saint-Exupery since Offspringette arrived with his biography one day having read The Little Prince years ago. I still don't know much about him beyond the flying because I haven't had a minute to grab that baton but if The Reserve was going to offer similarities then I was on the look out for a slightly mercurial aviator with a hint of the maverick about him and I wasn't disappointed.
Vain, self-important and an acquaintance of Hemingway, Jordan Groves lives with his wife and two sons, Bear and Wolf and works as an artist in the Adirondacks in 1936. Preferring his sea-plane to road travel Jordan constantly gives himself a bird's eye view of events on the neighbouring Tamarack Reserve, a secluded and exclusive wilderness for the uber-wealthy Americans who retreat to their cabins and live in that back-to-nature way but with all mod-cons to hand.
Call me unadventurous but count me in, I might live in splendid rural isolation but I don't do backwoods, give me electricity, hot water, a bath, a washing machine and a hairdryer at all times and canvas is for painting on not sleeping under.
Vanessa Cole is the wealthy debutante daughter who sets her sights on the rebel artist Jordan and there's a rough and ready but sensitive forest guide, Hubert St. Germain with feelings that 'warred in his large, wounded heart' to tip the balance who knows which way.
Meanwhile war is raging in Spain, Europe is next and it all seems as remote and distant as this group of strangely disturbing people living their exclusive lives.
It's all in here, love, lobotomies, and a clever italicised story being told alongside which suddenly makes sense at the end of the book with a fine penny-dropping moment and with our phD in hindsight you can only be worried as the Hindenburg hovers overhead too. A very enjoyable read, The Reserve is one of those books which conjures up so much more, I kept thinking about Gatsby and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and then D.H.Lawrence and Lady Chatterley and doubtless I will find resonance when I eventually get to de Saint-Exupery.
Why the Adorindack setting works such effortless magic on me I can't quite work out. I've never been there, know little about it, but The Air We Breath by Andrea Barratt did likewise and in the end I think I've decided that anywhere that gives its name to such a gorgeous chair must be a fine place and now I really do want an Adirondack chair this summer.
'Someone' will HAVE to make me one, look I've even found him some instructions.