Thanks to everyone who came to my aid over the dilemma of what to take as reading material for a long flight. In the end I decided to follow the advice from a couple of you who advised me to put the historical fiction list to one side for noon and choose something by an author whose work I previously enjoyed.
So into my cabin baggage went J G Farrell’s Troubles which counts towards my Man Booker Prize challenge since this novel was named as the ‘lost Man Booker ‘ from 1970 – the only year since its inception that the competition did not take place.
I read Farrell for the first time last year when I picked up The Seige of Krishnapur which won the Booker prize in 1973. It was a great story about a British settlement in India at a point whereby the old colonial crumbling beginning to crumble.
Troubles similarly picks up the theme about the divisions in a country governed by an outside force. In this case the setting is Ireland in 1919 which was a transitional period in the country’s history aS the struggle for independence is about to explode.
It’s a serious subject so it was surprising to find a lot to laugh about in this novel which takes place in a crumbling coastal hotel populated by doddery old s ladies and an ever increasing family of cats. They compete for space with palms and ferns that grow unchecked over chairs and tables in the conservatory.
Decay and exchange lie all about them but so hypnotic are the charms of the Majestic Hotel that the residents seem oblivious to the gathering clouds of nationalistic fervour.
I’m only half way through but so glad I chose this one for my trip.