Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Novel in the Viola - Natasha Solomons

This is a beautifully written novel. In it, we hear the story of Elise Landau, a young Jewish woman who has grown up in the thick of the artistic and cultural scene in Vienna, her mother a wonderful opera singer and her father a published novelist. But with the present threat of an uncertain future, and the looming threat of a second World War, it is determined that Elise's sister Margot will go to America with her husband Richard, and that Elise will go to England and become a housemaid to ensure her safety. And so begins the novel proper, as Elise arrives in Tyneford, the home of the Rivers family, and her destiny is shaped. 

This novel was a pleasure to read. The characters were well drawn, and Elise intrigued me. Her experience of war and the observations of her change in circumstances, her new relationships, and the way she slowly adapts despite her immense sadness and longing for mother Anna, father Julian and sister Margot, makes for great storytelling and enjoyable reading. Not a novel to rush but to luxuriate in and be moved by the love, change and sadness experienced. 

This author really does have a beautiful way with language too, her descriptions of the Dorset coast and the influence of the sea and landscape on Elise and the other Tyneford residents really makes an impact on the reader. I will now go back and read the author's debut novel, Mr Rosenblum's List.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog Lindsay and leading me to this beautiful review! You've just made me want to read it even more now and I think I'll buy it this week :)

    I've heard of Mr Rosenblum's List as well and I didn't realise that it was written by the same author. I may have to check that one out too.

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair


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