Monday, March 3, 2014

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

I am so thrilled to finally read a book about a woman of *ahem* a certain age. Is it just me, or is there a plethora of under-30 protagonists in books out there recently? It seems most contemporary fiction is written for and about young people and although much depends on the author's skill, the story lines and characters tend to bog me down with been-there-done-that repetition. My thirties were a decade ago so it's refreshing to peek into what the challenges and advantages of life might be like in the coming decades. I loved that Rebecca moved out to the solitude of a cabin in the country; even though it took some adjustment, she came around to recognizing the value solitude and nature have to offer. She encounters more self discovery in her first year there than she ever did in her previous rather full and intense life in the city. The other characters in the book are varied, interesting and believable. Familiar, even, which is another reason I enjoy reading authors of a similar generation as mine. The writing and structure is a bit quirky, though; I'm not sure how else to describe a story told in flashbacks and tangents, a style I often find distracting. But in here it works well. When you have a good portion of life experience under your belt, there's enough substance there to fashion a story directly out of those flashbacks and tangents. They're not filler, they're brief but direct bricks in the foundation of Rebecca's current situation. It's good, and it works. Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen is a lovely, refreshingly original story of self-discovery and reinvention.

(inside flap)
Still Life With Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendant, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life With Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.


JoAnn said...

I love Anna Quindlen's books and can't wait to read her latest! Especially excited to see an older protagonist ;)

Heidi’sbooks said...

This looks great. Thanks for the review. The title is appealing too. The storyline sounds interesting.

Trish said...

JoAnn - I'm glad she has had such a prolific writing career as I still have many of her previous books on my TBR shelf.

Heidi - yes, the storyline is really quite good. It feels so much more original than anything I've read in the past little while.

BECKY said...

Oh No! Another book I want to read! LOL