Saturday, December 02, 2006

Books I've finished

I finished listening to the audio version of Jacqueline Winspear's Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, and I thought it was a lot of fun -- I like Maisie a lot and the story was good. I thought perhaps the ending dragged on a bit long; I could feel things wrapping up for a good two of the nine CDs I was listening to, but that was the only flaw.

One of the things that intriqued me about the novel was its touch --just a touch really -- of eastern thought. The implication seems to be that Maisie's particular insightfulness comes from a mix of her "western" rationality and her "eastern" spirituality and insight. She meditates, she's gotten training from someone of eastern origin -- I have to be vague because I listened to the book and so can't go back and check my source -- she's acutely aware of other people's states of mind and how these are reflected in their bodies. She's not a hard-nosed detective type but finds success through intuition as much as logic. There's something just a little bit mysterious and mystical about her.

I'm now realizing how gendered this is. Of course she's not a hard-nosed detective! She combines "masculine" strength and resolve and logic with "feminine" compassion and intuition and that's what makes her so good at what she does.

I liked this book enough to want to seek out other Maisie Dobbs novels, perhaps also in audio. I must see what my library has.

I've also finished Proust's In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. I find myself with little to say about it, although I continue to enjoy reading the novel a lot. It's so rich I should have much to say about it; I think, though, that I have been letting it wash over me and haven't tried to back away to get some critical distance in order to write something. Perhaps this is a sign of defeat -- maybe I should try to get some critical distance on it -- but I don't really have the energy, and, more importantly, I'm enjoying the experience plenty as it is.

I've begun Barbara Noble's novel Doreen for a book club meeting next week, at which I'll meet Emily. This will be fun!