Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book #55 - The Hand that First Held Mine

The Hand That First Held Mine
Maggie O'Farrell

Blurb: Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself.

Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives--all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own.

Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place.

As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation. (from BookBrowse)

Length: Medium - 341 pages

Notes: This is one of those books that I neither loved nor hated. The story was a good one, but it wasn't a book I just wanted to read all the time. There were some great motherhood moments that I could really relate to, and I liked how it took 2 separate stories, in 2 different times, and wove them together. There were many things that were predictable to me, but there were also some big surprises. It's not a book that I think I wasted my time on, but not one that I'd jump to recommend to anyone.

Random quote : "'Well.' She considers what to say. Should she mention the nights spent awake, the number of times she must wash her hands in a day, the endless drying and folding of tiny clothes, the packing and unpacking of bags containing clothes, nappies, wipes, the scar across her abdomen, crooked and leering, the utter loneliness of it all, the hours she spends kneeling on the floor, a rattle or bell or a fabric block in her hands, that she sometimes gets the urge to stop older women in the street and say, how did you do it, how did you live through it? Or she could mention that she had been unprepared for this fierce spring in her, this feeling that isn't covered by the word 'love', which is far too small for it, that sometimes she thinks she might faint with the urgency of her feeling for him, that sometimes she misses him so desperately even when he is right there, that it's like a form of madness, of possession, that often she has to creep into the room when he has fallen asleep just to look at him, to check, to whisper to him."

Recommend: Hmm, I'm middle of the road on this one...

Have you read this book? Share your feelings!

No comments: