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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

London Calling

If any of you has read either "Life Class" (2007) or "Toby's Room" (2012), the first books in Pat Barker's trilogy that concludes with "Noonday" (2015), please educate me: Does Bertha Mason - the spooky medium in the final book - make an appearance in either of the first two? If yes, I've got a serious bone to pick with whoever wrote the book jacket for the hardcover version of "Noonday". If no, I've got a tiny quibble I'd like to discuss with the talented Booker Prizewinning author.

Reading someone who has writing chops like Pat Barker is exhilarating to me - as a reader- at the same time it is dispiriting to me, as an aspiring writer. Not one clunky sentence in 300+ pages, dialogue that hits all the right notes, texture to spare. "Noonday" takes place in London during the Blitz that almost decimated that great city at the start of WWII. Barker is nearly flawless juxtaposing the relentless tension of those extraordinary months vs. people going on with their ordinary lives. Anyone recall the great John Boorman film from 1987 called "Hope And Glory"? "Noonday" is that movie's literary soul mate.

And once again, I have one of my reading posse to thank for introducing me to an author worth re-visiting. If I don't hear back soon from one of you about the exceedingly odd Bertha Mason, my first Pat Barker rewind will be to read "Life Class" and/or "Toby's Room", even though I now know the fate of all three principals introduced in those earlier installments.

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