Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston — a good read overall and I loved what it revealed of the Jim Crow era South. And oh golly, the beginning of the novel has moments of positively soaring writing:
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.
Home by Marilynne Robinson A deeply spun character study, masterfully crafted and tenderly observed. I love her writing, you can feel the vastness of her character and life experience in it — I don’t think that a young woman could have written it. Different glories for different ages.
The Guernsey Potato Peel and Literary Society: A Novel — the epistolary format is really fun to read and the characters are all charming and lovable. It is punctuated by stories of life under German occupation in the Channel Islands. It gave me the shivers to consider how close the mainland came to occupation and what that might have looked like. The harsh realities are expertly couched in a heartening ensemble tale which surprisingly makes it at once more poignant and less heavy.
It’s funny that I happened upon this novel so soon after watching Island at War which covers the same subject. Seeing as it’s such a hot theme for me right now, perhaps it is high time that I read one of the biographies written by my my mister’s dearly loved, late Granny, Barbara Stoney, Sibyl, Dame of Sark. Sibyl Hathaway was the 21st Seigneur of the island, whose commitment to remain and expertly lead her people through the years of occupation was much lauded. Sounds like a tale worth hearing to me! (Put that in your pipe and smoke it Spice Girls!)