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The House With The Lilac Shutters: And other stories Kindle Edition
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- File Size : 1119 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 184 pages
- Publisher : ThunderPoint Limited (1 Oct. 2015)
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B0121JSTLO
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,066,052 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
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The house with the lilac shutters, which drew me to this book, stands opposite the Café Rose in a small town in the south of France. Most, but not all, of the stories take place there, in the heat of the summer sun. Some are set in a parallel town in England. The protagonist are old and young, visitor and local and all aspects of life are reflected; birth, death, adultery, love, suicide and desire.
There is an element of, measuring lives in coffee spoons, as many moments in time are described in intense detail,
“Today we are sitting together outside Café Rose. On our right there is the river, dark and green, bending the light into convex ripples. I sip my coffee and look onto the square. I want to add another cube of sugar, but I resist and try to savour the unfamiliar bitter-rich flavour.”
Among the many characters are many with secrets, some with regrets or guilt. Memories are dwelt on but only some find new opportunities. My favourite character is Angelique, the carer, who dressed in bright colours brings light into the life of Aubrey and makes tasty dishes from her childhood in Cameroon. One story, Leyla’s Legacy, really troubled me. It is a tragic tale of cruelty and unhappiness and of the subjugation of women continuing into each generation.
These stories are thought provoking, encompassing many themes and emotions in everyday places. Gabrielle Barnby is a very talented writer.
As the stories progress, hints are dropped like pebbles in a pond so that each story ripples into another, revealing a bit more about a character from an earlier story and helping the reader build up an understanding of why characters are as they are. I do think they need to be read in the order in which they are presented to gain the most from their reading.
The image of heat runs through many of the stories, lowering like a thunderstorm about to break and making the reader wonder what lies, memories and truths might be about to be uncovered in a maelstrom of emotion. I almost found the undercurrents in Gabrielle Barnby’s writing sinister, even though there is humour, love and gentleness too. The linguistic style is totally fascinating.
The more I read, and the more descriptions I encountered, the more I was put in mind of one of my all time favourite texts – Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’. There is a lyrical quality to the writing and descriptions make use of all the senses so that they are vivid and engaging; from the taste of Nico’s marzipan fruit to the colour of the lilac shutters themselves, Gabrielle Barnby paints layer upon layer of image. I could really visualise the settings and think the stories would make a fabulous television series.
I usually pass on review copies of books I have read, but I will be keeping ‘The Lilac Shutters and Other Stories’. Although I’ve read them once, I’m sure I’ve missed many elements and nuances and I look forward to returning to them in the future to see what else is there beneath the surface. I can heartily recommend these stories to all readers.