Now: I’m reading Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid and to compare and
contrast I’m also reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
I first read the Austen version many years ago and reading it now it’s only vaguely familiar. The McDermid version is amazingly similar in a modern context – Cat Morland goes to the Edinburgh Festival instead of to Austen’s Bath, John Thorpe is really awful, much worse than Austen’s Thorpe. McDermid’s Cat uses Facebook, instead of writing in a journal as Austen’s young ladies do and so on. I haven’t got them to Northanger Abbey itself in either version. It’s funny comparing the two books written almost 200 years apart.
And by way of yet more contrast I’m also reading See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. This has a really creepy feel, looking into the mind of Lizzie Borden – it’s compelling reading.
Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Or did she?
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell’”of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.
Then: The last book I read is Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, an absolutely amazing and gripping psychological thriller due out on 23 March 2017. My review will follow soon. I loved it.
Next: I never decide what to read next until the time comes to choose a new book. It could be one of my TBRs – I’ve been neglecting them a bit this year. So, it could be The Gathering by Anne Enright, which is also one of the books I provisionally earmarked to read for the Begorrathon.
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn’t the drink that killed him – although that certainly helped – it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother’s house, in the winter of 1968.
The Gathering is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars.
What are you reading this week’¦and in the future?