Thursday, September 2, 2010
Best Read of the Summer: How I Live Now
Let's get one thing straight: I rarely succumb to tears when I read a novel, but Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now left me aching, weeping and glad for my sunglasses. I was in public for God's sake.
I also laughed at this book and stewed in my own bitter envy for the woman's gorgeous writing.
Funny. Just a few months ago, I was happily blogging about Markus Zuzak 's short, bittersweet sentences. Here I am excited about Rosoff's long, meandering ones. That's how protagonist Daisy's voice starts off, anyway. She goes to live with her cousins in England. Oh, sure there's a war imminent and everything but that's for people in other countries, right? Daisy has her own problems.
A terrorist-style war strikes, which is of the author's imagination. Or exaggeration. As with her later novel Just in Case, Meg Rosoff creates her own paradigm. If her writing was painting, it might be cubist--realistic but on its own set of planes. In a recent Globe and Mail article, novelist Jonathan Franzen dismisses research-based writing as limiting for character development. Characters get too squished in my the constraints of fact. The premise is as good as any. At least it justifies his writing, (which needs no justification anyway) and Rosoff's too.
Fortunately, I have Meg Rosoff's second novel by my bed, and awaiting consumption. Then I might have to do what my 9-year-old daughter did, and write my beloved author. Stomp my little foot and demand another novel. It worked for my kid. If it doesn't work for me, I'm not beneath begging.