Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dazzling prose (not mine)

I just finished a heartbreaking/lifting book. The quote on the cover says it all:

"A wonderful feat of imagination and empathy. I had to supress bitter feelings of literary envy even as I couldn't stop devouring it." - LOUIS DE BERNIERES

SWEETNESS IN THE BELLY, by Canadian author Camilla Gibb, is thick with stories. I'm too young to remember Ethiopia as more than a place where there was famine and some singers sang a sad song to raise money, but Gibb's raw depiction of the land, the people, and the story of one in particular were epic in proportions.

Set in Ethiopia and in London, the intricately worded story of Lilly follows this displaced young woman as she searches for love and a place to call her own. Born of European parents who lived a nomadic and romanticized hippie life, Lilly ends up in Ethiopia just before the Emperor was deposed and the famine ravages and war ravages what the famine did not.

One of those authors for whom I force myself to slow down and read every word in the page so as not to miss any of her gorgeous prose, I know already that the story will stay with me forever. Images are seared into my mind and I think about Lilly and the people in her life throughout the day.

On a more base note, I certainly wish I could write like Gibb. Her sentences, the words she uses, I cannot even imagine how on earth she does it. I think perhaps I will ask. Do they tumble out, unbidden? Is it a work of art, each word on the page, its perfect placement well thought. Examined. Ach, well. It is enough that we are all different.

*Happy note; I wrote a letter to Nick Hornby and he wrote back! He also recommended some authors. I will post their names once I'm back in my palace so we can all check them out.


lotusloq said...

Sounds like an Amazing book! Yet another to put on my TBR list. So many books to read, so little time, especially if I'm going to get any writing in.

That's so cool about Hornby! You're so brave!

flashmom said...

i picked up that book months ago off my mom's shelf but havnn't read it. i'll give it a go. looked a little heavy but if you say so....

Justus M. Bowman said...

Another blog for me to read. Woo hoo!

By the way, nice quote from Einstein. I think my life is more like the second option.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there are more and more Canadian authors worth reading. Who knew?