I should have been writing this amid the aroma of my Christmas cake baking in the oven. But after a few hours amid the crush of festive shoppers, I decided that baking will need to wait until tomorrow. So a cup of my favourite Earl Grey tea and a slice of something creamy will have to suffice for inspiration.
I’ve been suffering from a dearth of inspiration having read three novels in close succession that were less than inspiring. The first two were from the Coursera historic fiction course. As my review indicates, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was one of the worst I have read all year. I was hoping for something more substantive but instead got another lacklustre offering in the form of Fever by Mary Beth Keane. It’s the fictionalised account of an Irish immigrant deemed responsible for multiple deaths in the New York area in the early 1900s because, although she was perfectly healthy herself, she was a carrier of typhoid. Identified as a threat to public health and quarantined for three years, Mary battled to prove her innocence. How an author could take such a strong real-life story and render from it as dull a novel as Fever, astounds me. It reads more like reportage than fiction and not even good reportage at that. Half way through I decided I’d had enough and so abandoned.
After those disappointing experiences, I was hoping that my luck would turn with the book chosen for our next book club read – John O’Farrell’s The Man who Forgot his Wife. It was not to be. It features a man who completely loses his memory and has to rebuild his life from fragments of memory which might be true but could easily be figments of his imagination. It’s funny in part but humour alone isn’t enough when the book has more than 400+ pages. I kept checking where my bookmark was and how many more pages there were left to read. Not a good sign!
I’m off for a trawl through the bookshelves in search of more meaty fare with which to sustain me through December.