Monday, 7 October 2013

Perfect North by Jenny Bond ~ a review

This book is so unassuming it could easily slide under the radar of the entire book world. I am telling you now not to miss it. Man, I feel so privileged to be in the new position of being able to read such  good quality books! (you know I won't necessarily tell you about the bad ones)

Watch for this book, and when you see it, pick it up. You can read the back page blurb here.

Where to start? I love a well-researched book steeped in history, where the author clearly knows his or her stuff. The actual letters and journal entries that open each chapter truly add to the feelings of melancholy, excitement and bittersweetness that make this story so hard to put down. I turned each page itching to be back in the mind of certain characters, and each foray was satisfying. Just. That's what kept the pages turning.

We all have something we wish we could reverse, a situation or five we wish we could change. When faced with the same decisions these characters face, people generally don't tend to recognise how it could send their life in a different direction so powerfully. That these characters lived last century sees that their decisions are all the harder to make.

Do you do what you do to save face? Out of integrity? From concern for others? Or are all your reasons selfish? Probably they are a combination. This book has people with all of these motives and then some, and the journey taken is picturesque in all kinds of ways. Not only is the visual imagery very stunning, but the emotions can be seen just as clearly and their persuasion makes for many gripping moments.

Yes, it is heartbreaking, but in all the right ways. And it is so very heart-warming, too.

It's hard to say who my favourite character was because I associated with each of them on some level. Possibly my favourite was Erik. His level of self-control is amazing and this is something to admire and value as the story moves on. I also really like Stubbendorff and the personal revelation he receives from Anna toward the end. How stunning!

Certain lies and untruths add to the story's richness, and it is impossible to keep from wondering how much of life can be like this - the lies other people tell and the ones we tell ourselves which hold us bound and run the show during mental absence thanks to guilt or regret. Then of course there is the question of fate versus Providence versus science. Can the three be agreed in the minds of these characters?

Perfect North is beautifully told, and I picked it up after being informed it would appeal to those who liked Burial Rites. There are atmospheric similarities, particularly in the fact that some things can most certainly not be undone and must therefore be lived with and each situation made the most of.

I loved this book, and it is a privilege to read such great quality work. I'm looking forward to Jenny Bond's next book, The President's Lunch. What will it be like??? :)

Inspired by The Ice Balloon.

"Better is open rebuke, than hidden love." Proverbs 27v5

Mieux vaut reprendre ouvertement quelqu'un,
que se taire par amitiƩ.


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