Friday, July 7, 2017

Art and Life


I am loving my time with the grandchildren and believe me, every moment with Zadie in particular is high Shakespearean drama. But truth be told, I find myself wanting to retreat into my book every spare moment I can. The story I’m reading just happens to be more interesting than the life I am leading.

The book is The Black House by Peter May, a new author to me and happily so as he’s written two more in a trilogy and many more with other themes. Shelved in bookstores under Mystery, it starts with an investigation of a murder on the remote island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, an island I actually gave an Orff workshop on once in the main town of Stornaway. I remember touring a music school to see what instruments they had and my host opening a closet full of Brazilian samba instruments! “Why do you have these here on this island in Scotland?” and my host shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know. They seemed interesting.” Welcome to the 21st century.

I also remember a discussion with preschool teachers there about how they were following the American model and were instructed not to touch the children. But then one looked over at me with a sly wink and confided, “But we do it anyway.” 

So Peter May’s book. It has everything I look for in a novel. Intrigue, suspense and mystery in the plot, appealing or at least interesting and complex characters, excellent writing. And in this case the added bonus of the detective snooping around back in the place he grew up after 18 years away and meeting old friends and acquaintances with all the possibilities of friendships renewed or left aside. And leapfrogging between past and present to fill in the full picture of what happened then to lead to now with new questions and intrigues arising.

With the grandkids at their daycare right now, guess what I’m going to do?

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