18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
a read jewel,
This review is from: Mourning Ruby (Hardcover)
Helen Dunmore has a vivid mind in Mourning Ruby. A tale of love and loss, unrequited futures and relationships missing a beat. The quagmire of making sense of what was after it has gone and what could be that will never arrive.
Mourning Ruby sets experience rolling, remembering it like a film on loop. It’s said that our memory never forgets a single frame of our life. Yet we live our memory through the stories it creates, editing and mixing a million and one emotions to a few scenarios.
Rebecca is Dunmore’s voice. She is born to a mysterious mother who abandons her new born in a shoebox outside the back door of an Italian restaurant. This is Rebecca’s history as she seeks to recover where she belongs and her place in the world. That past is beyond her reach, but it transpires that her one hope of rebuilding a present is torn from her by the tragic death of her daughter Ruby. This leads to the breakdown of her marriage and a realisation of importance of the enigmatic, intellectual lynchpin Joe, a former flatmate, Stalin biographer, who introduces her to life and culture and cooking. And Mr Damiano, her hotel owner boss, with a circus past that mixes tragedy and loss, romance and self motivation who Rebecca finds so elusive and awe-inspiring. And it is his story that is the most beautifully told, rising above misfortune, that binds the whole plot. She hears it and then sleeps for a day and a half. She is almost reborn. He becomes Rebecca’s necessary (god) father.
Mourning Ruby is a book about stories telling us how it is, it is a book about missing reality and having to be told to be reminded. It’s heartfelt and beautifully written, uplifting and sad and introducing the tricky confusion of intimacy with sexuality. Why sometimes to find true meaning in our lives it helps to find someone to tell us.
It is not a straightforward meander through a set plot. It is clever with its literary machinations; poetry introducing prose for each chapter; stories within stories.
Sweep through it and enjoy. It’s worth it.