So many books, so little time, literally. I have about 4 that I’ve read in the last couple of weeks and have wanted to blog about, so here goes the first.
I’ve had Haweswater for a couple of years now- I bought it at the college bookstore during one of their big clearances; it was one of the remainders that was bought for some class, sometime, and I got it for a dollar. For a dollar, it’s quite a book. Sarah Hall’s debut novel, it seems to fit a typical historical fiction genre at first glance. starting in a northern English village in the early 20th century, it revolves mostly around one family and their slightly wild daughter. however, no, this is no Jane Austen update (and no, that’s not an insult to Jane Austen, I love her dearly). Many of the people in this book love one another, and do it badly. There’s a bit of a big-city meets small-village element, but who has the power and when is not what you might expect. The central premise is based on the need for the city of Manchester to build a new dam, and the village of Marsdale is in the way. The prologue begins the story at the end, showing us that something has been lost without quite revealing what or how.
The story is written in dialect, and although it was done differently than I’ve seen in a book before, I didn’t find it distracting at all after the first few pages. The characters, with the exception of Ella, were hard for me to identify with or really feel I got to know, although I don’t think that was weakness so much as a style choice; we didn’t need to know their thoughts, most of the time. There’s also a bit of an element of faith in the book, and I at least would have liked to see more of that in the story. I also have to admit that the ending made me mad, more than I expected, although not mad enough to refuse to read any more of Hall’s books if I get the chance.