Alison’s Picks – December


Seeing George by Cassandra Austin.  As a young woman, Violet met a man named George – except that he didn’t look like a man. He looked exactly like a dragon. And nobody but her saw him as a dragon. Her beloved husband Frank, some decades later, gives her an ultimatum: stop seeing George. She has advanced cancer, and doesn’t want to stop seeing him, can’t stop seeing him that way. What can she do? This is an intriguing novel playing with the idea of our perceptions, and whether a moral value is to be attached to them.


The Blue Guitar by John Banville. I am listening to a Talking Book rendition of this one. It’s a monologue, brilliantly and theatrically narrated by Irish Gerry O’Brien. Listen to it if only for his voice!  The central character is Oliver Orme, who introduces himself to us as a former painter, and a thief. His life is in ruins; his marriage has ended, his daughter dead; he has embarked on an affair with his best friend’s wife (rarely a good idea) and is hiding from the world. Pieces of his life-jigsaw fall out as the monologue proceeds, and I am still waiting to see where Banville will take me. Terrific writing , in a minor key.


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