Monday, July 30, 2018
FOUNDING MARTYR is the biography of one who died early in a conflict, a work that brings to light the many contributions of Dr. Joseph Warren. By rights, he was one of America's founding fathers, and Christian Di Spigna does a fine job of illuminating the life and times of a man who has been largely forgotten.
Dr. Warren had a comfortable life and a booming medical practice, yet he did not hesitate to join the resistance to British interference in colonial self-government. To read about a man's dedication to what he thought was right and just makes for fascinating reading. Imagine yourself, with young children to provide for, but you are so incensed about unfair taxation that you organize resistance, even at risk of imprisonment or death.
The man was an intriguing character, and the narrative lays out a timeline of events that show how one thing led to another until the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired. Readers will come away with a strong sense of what made a gentleman in those trying times, and what was expected of those who dared to step forward and lead.
Well worth reading for history buffs or anyone enjoying the liberty bought at a high price.
As always, thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy.
Friday, July 06, 2018
The protagonist is a concert pianist after a debiliating injury. The novel takes place in his scattered thoughts. The prose is remarkable.
Mr. Field has taken his settlement post-injury and moved to South Africa with his wife, who leaves him but it takes a while for you to realize she's gone. Yet you don't mind, the not-knowing, because the words are so lovely you aren't following the arc of the story but letting the words wash over you like the sea.
In time, he becomes obsessed with the widow of the architect who designed his house. They have conversations in his head, imaginary chats, delightful talks that feel real but we all know it's just his imagination. The obsession becomes stronger and drives him to act in bizarre ways that fit what has gone before.
This one is not for everyone, and if you're looking for a story to get lost in, this won't do. This is a piece of writing that you can fall into like a soft feather bed, more poetry than prose, a journey into a character's head when said character may not be altogether of sound mind.
Thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy.