Three Books I'm Reading Now, 1/18/21 Edition
01 Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Evaristo won the Booker Prize in 2019 for this novel, which I'm listening to as an audiobook for the full effect of having the story told to me in a British accent.
Girl, Woman, Other is a set of twelve interconnected stories about Black British women and their friendships, partnerships, struggles, victories, and the ways their lives are affected by past colonialism and the present-day British environment.
The women in Evaristo's novel are concerned with sexuality, autonomy, race, artistic expression, tradition, class, loyalty, and how each of these shape their identities. It's interesting and engaging so far.
02 The Harpy by Megan Hunter
Well, this is an odd and fascinating book.
Lucy and Jake are the parents of two young boys. Lucy has sidelined her career to be home with the children, and she and Jake are settled into their routine of daily chores, comfortable marriage, and few surprises. Lucy feels disruptively restless at times, but really, she figures, who doesn't?
Then Lucy receives a message that Jake, her reliable, predictable scientist of a husband, is having an affair with the caller's wife, Jake's colleague. A woman he'd invited to their home. Vanessa. He lets slip that he affectionately calls her "V."
Hunter explores the desire for revenge, attempts at penance, and whether Lucy can forgive Jake's betrayal. There's a layer of magical realism that's interspersed but coming on strong at the end, which makes the tone of this one feel unusual.
03 Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Frankie Elkin isn't a cop and she isn't a private investigator. She's an unassuming middle-aged woman and a recovering alcoholic who has a compulsion: to locate missing women and girls the authorities haven't been able to find.
I'm all in on Frankie's whole situation already. She travels the country tracking lost women, moving into communities with little more than a change of clothes, a flip phone, and an open mind, then doggedly following her instincts. She cares about the women she's seeking, she's not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions, she acknowledges her limitations--and she has ghosts in her past that she's trying to run from.
I received an advance reader copy of this book, which will be published January 19, through Dutton Books and NetGalley. This is my first Lisa Gardner book, but I don't expect it to be my last.
What are you reading these days?
This is a nice mix for me to have going on at once: a fictional, varied look at modern feminism and race in Britain; a revenge fantasy with magical realism interwoven throughout; and a new-to-me mystery author's current character-driven book, featuring a protagonist I immediately love.
What are you reading and enjoying these days?