December 2016: Two great novels

I have a friend who won’t read fiction.  ‘If it’s made up,’ he says, ‘it doesn’t count.’ I’ve just read two novels that might change his mind.

Ann Patchett’s first novel has echoes of her latest, Commonwealth, in that both have enigmatic characters. Her first, Patron Saint of Liars is about Rose, a kind and competent woman  who wreaks havoc on those who love her.

In Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, the eponymous character is an unlikable and difficult woman for whom the reader comes to have great sympathy and affection.

What I should – shall – say to my friend is that good fiction gives one the chance to know people in a way that biographies and memoirs can rarely achieve. On a very basic level, good fiction makes one want to do better and be kinder. That’s not a bad resolution for 2017.

Have a very happy Christmas and a brilliant New Year!

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One thought on “December 2016: Two great novels

  1. jillmillerblogcom

    And I couldn’t agree more with your answer for your friend lovely Debby…For me fiction is about being able to explore humans in a broader deeper sense using, often, our own experiences of connections with friends, and relatives, past and present, and nieghbours too..As humans we study people, listen, take note of how their lives have been shaped by the experiences they have had. The ones they tell us about and the ones they keep hidden in the creases of their skin…Sometimes I have met people that I find have dislikable aspects to their personalities, and yet have warmed to them for other reasons. Often because I have glimpsed their pain or witnessed some human act on their part. And we know what they hide by the way they hide it…Have a ‘Cool Yule’ lovely friend, and I wish you all you wish yourself for 2017….Mucho amor….XX

    Reply

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