'A history of the the world...and my own',
This review is from: Moon Tiger (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
An elderly woman, Claudia, looks back on her life from a hospital bed. It isn't the most promising advertisement for a good read, but 'Moon Tiger' I think justifies its status. I took the first thirty pages rather slowly to ensure I absorbed the foundations of the story, but was thereafter swept along by its momentum. The author has a knack of inserting the right detail to evoke a moment. She not only has a strong command of language but also of telling a story.
The novel's structure is quite complex, switching backwards and forwards between different periods of Claudia's life, but the sections are generally linked by a particular detail. Her sister-in-law, for instance, brings her poinsettia which triggers a memory of a scene in Egypt during the war. The technique reflects Claudia's insistence that her 'history' defies chronology. Having been a writer by profession, she is articulate and displays not only a wonderful sense of humour but a refreshing bluntness. War, God and other institutions take a hammering. Her revelations provoke a sharp combination of sadness, shock and amusement.
Of the fifteen or so Booker-winning titles I have read (several of which, I confess, went over my head) this is one of my favourites.