Tuesday, October 03, 2006
My amazon twin.
For quite some time now my amazon page has twinned me with The Mathematics Of Love by Emma Darwin.
It's one of those weird X-file like mysteries that no one can explain. What makes it particularly astonishing is that Emma is one of the few novelists I have actually met in person. She was kind enough to come along to one of the MNW launches. (There were so many, you know.)
I also know Emma from the writers' site, writewords, where she is an extremely friendly, supportive and well-informed expert. You don't think that could be the connection, do you?
Well, of course, knowing Emma as I do, and having our books twinned, I was naturally very keen to read her novel (TMOL, as it is known to those in the know).
I finished it today and absolutely loved it.
Here are some thoughts:
Emma's grasp of the nuances of detail that make up the textures of her characters' lives struck me as nothing less than clairvoyant. She handles the historical material masterfully so that it never gets in the way of the story, but does the job of allowing the reader to experience the reality and immediacy of distant - and not so distant - events. She also moves between the twin time periods seamlessly (the book is set in 1819 and 1976), linking them by thematic connections and a parallel narrative pacing. Two stories are being told - of Stephen Fairhurst, a veteran of Waterloo, and of Anna Ware, a hot, bored, lonely teenager - but each serves to add meaning and resonance to the other by the simple action of perspective.
It is a highly intelligent book, written with great control, and yet it has an emotional power that is all the more breathtaking for that.
The Mathematics of Love is one of those books you sink into. From page one you know you are in safe hands. My only complaint is that I reached the end of its 400 plus pages all too soon.