Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light.

Like a lot of books I've had on my wish list, I first heard about this book on NPR while driving in the car.  It was August 4th, 2008 and I was listening to The Diane Rehm Show and she was interviewing Brunonia Barry on her show (click the link to listen to the interview).  I fell in love with the book then, but it took me about two years to finally read it.  I wish I had read it the very next day.

This was a haunting story the plays around with reality while exploring identity and family secrets.  These elements have been woven into a tapestry that explores what it is to be a whole person with a strong idea of self and who you are as a person.  Tanner is one of the most interesting character I've read in a long time.  She is so turned in within herself that she seems to start the book in a place where she needs to come out and rejoin the rest of us.  The journey she takes to not only come into her own but to find out what happened to her great aunt takes her on such a exploration of self that I fell in love with her. 

There has been so much written about this book that I don't want to take too much more of your time but for those of you who haven't read this book, I want to implore you too pick it up as soon as possible.  Brunonia Barry has a voice unlike most of what I've been reading these last few years.  She can weave a story in such a way that makes me think of days gone by when Celtic storytellers would sit around a fire and tell beautifully imagined stories that capture the listeners imagination.  You can physically feel this story as it unfolds and I'm thankful for the author for the experience.


Literary Feline said...

Like you, it's been a couple of years since I first heard about this book and wanted to read it. Hopefully one day soon I will get that chance. It sounds like such a worthwhile book to read. Great review, Ryan.

Kaye said...

I hope you got a chance to read her second book, The Map of True Places. That's a good one!

Anonymous said...

I loved this one. Of course, when I read it, I peeked ahead and read the ending early, not a good idea.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written. I haven't written my review yet, but I will probably do a mini-review because I'm SO behind on reviews!

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Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I was sorry I wasn't able to hop on to your tuesday talks abou tthis one.

Anonymous said...

To find out more about the real tunnels in Salem Brunonia Barry talks about read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City and then take the cool Salem walking tour about them. Learn how 144 people hid behind the creation of a park to build a series of tunnels in Salem utilizing the nation's first National Guard to build them so a superior court justice, a Secretary of the Navy, and a bunch of Senators could avoid paying Jefferson's custom duties. Engineered by the son of America's first millionaire.