Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Icebergs by Rebecca Johns

This is beautifully written and very moving but I couldn't finish it. I got too upset by the two WWII airmen who were stranded in Labrador in a snowstorm after their plane crashed. I just didn't want to read about their deaths (or rather the death of one of them, given what I managed to glean from the blurb). Alternating with the story of the two lost airmen is the story of Dottie, one of their wives, who is home on her family's farm in southern Ontario. I really liked her story, but again, I couldn't figure out how to read just those parts. I can usually read about unpleasant things but this time it was too raw. It was almost like I thought maybe I could keep the airman alive if I didn't read the part where he dies. I may try this book again when I am in a different mood.

This book reminds me of another wonderful book about a Canadian family in the years after World War II. That book is A Good House by Bonnie Burnard. I never have met anyone who has read this, but I thought it was extremely good. I don't know why it didn't get any press.

Both Icebergs and A Good House are examples of how a skilled author can turn domestic fiction into art. Both feature measured prose, a lack of sentimentality, and very realistic characters.

2 comments:

Susan B. said...

Sounds a bit like "Keeping the House," by Ellen Baker -- a book I read last summer and enjoyed quite a bit. Midwestern family saga before, during, and after the two world wars.

It's set in your neck of the woods, Becky, and I think you'd like it if you've not read it.

Becky said...

Susan, just as long as it doesn't have detailed descriptions of guys freezing to death. That's what I'm trying to avoid. Seriously though, I will look for this.

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