Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Thread of Grace (by Maria Doria Russell)

I bought this book in the airport. I've had bad luck with previous airport picks, but this was on a shelf with The Kite Runner and The Time Traveler's Wife so it seemed like it might not suck. It's a historical novel about Italy during the second World War, mainly focusing on Jews and the people who help them.

My favorite thing about the book, other than learning about this interesting historical period (what effect the fall of Mussolini had, for instance), was that the outcomes of the lives of the characters weren't cop outs. You know, usually all the red shirts die to show you how horrible the Nazis are and whatnot, but the core of characters somehow miraculously survives the war. I'm here to tell you that, without giving too much away, she's a lot more realistic about it.

But I'm suspicious about this book because it was such a quick read. I can't decide if it's actually a good book, because it felt almost breezy. Considering the subject matter, maybe what I'm saying is that it could have been meatier?

5 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

Have you read The Sparrow? That's her first book. I think it has some problems but overall I liked it.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Chilibmom@yahoo.com said...

Maria Doria Russell is an incredible writer. Her book, A thread of grace, made me go out and buy her other books. All of them are thought provoking. She is my favorite writer that I have found recently. I wish everyone would read all her books as they force you to think about right and wrong, divine power, chance and so many other things.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Carolann said...

Its easy to critique a book based on literary criteria but a book that moves you and a book that you keep remembering long afterward goes on your favorite's list no matter what anyone else thinks. So it is with Thread of Grace. The final line will haunt me for a long time as will the fatalistic decision of Renzo. I, too will now search out Russell's other books.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Nations carving up people. She shows us that WWII isn't over yet.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever saw an American movie called "In Her Shoes"?
Rose and Maggie (performed by Cameron Diaz) are sisters who claim to have nothing in common but DNA, a tragic childhood, and a shared shoe size. Rose owns an attorney position, a conservative personality, and a secret passion for romance. She is sophisticated with work but timid to her plain figure and appearance. Therefore, Rose stores a full wardrobe of high heels without enough courage to wear them out and show them off. Maggie, the little one who is absolutely reverse version of her sister, features drop-dead gorgeous, loafer, flirtation, and troublemaker. She left home without farewell after being caught at the scene when she was carrying on a clandestine love affair with Rose's boyfriend. In terms of women, the climax comes as Rose gives up her admirable job to then bravely wears the high heels she likes to hide into wardrobe. She successfully goes through a change of outlook on her relationship with Maggie-her unique sister, the man she has wrongly loved and the man she should love and treasure at present. Everything can start from "head", as well as "foot", not just curing the sequela of losing love.

"When I feel bad, I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good. Foods just make me fatter. Shoes always fit." The lines, from Rose, reveal her secret: she is not the prude that she looks like in appearance, but a lovely girl who is keenly obsessed with various high heels as well. Numberless pairs of housed high heels are her bosom friend, listening to her success, happiness sharing her upset and cheering her up when she is in low spirit. Even though Rose just buy them then hide them without debut with them, she still be companied and placated by their sweetness and attention.

Men may leave and love may be pulled away, but high heels will always stay.
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8:50 PM  

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