Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Salon: What am I Reading?

This hasn't been the greatest reading week for me. It was quite busy and exhausting, and I didn't get nearly as much done as I hoped. Reading-wise, that is. I think I was quite productive in other areas of my life!

I am currently reading Cezanne's Quarry, by Barbara Corrado Pope, a murder mystery set in 1880s France that revolves around the death of a beautiful young woman and (I assume) the artist Cezanne. I am only about a quarter of the way through the book so far, but I am really enjoying it. I really appreciate historical mysteries that include relevant facts from their time. For example, 1880s France is taut with the push and pull between Catholicism and science. It is a time of quack geologists sharing their theories with anyone who will listen. And it's certainly a time of social upheaval, where the class barriers and the ways of doing things are being challenged. (Though really, how many periods of history are there when people did not challenge the established ways of doing things?)

So far, I like the way the author has set up several different narrators; there are probably four or five main characters in the story, and so it's interesting to view them through multiple perspectives. I could also see this getting annoying, though, if I begin to feel that I don't know any of the characters very well by the end. I am not sure if this is just the first book in a series and if the author has plans for further stories centering around her provincial judge protagonist. I obviously don't know how the story ends yet, so I can't tell if it ties up neatly or leaves loose ends for a sequel. I guess I'll find out :-)

I realized after starting to read this book that I haven't really read or even heard about many stories that take place in France at the turn of the 2oth century. Most historical novels in France focus on the Sun King era or on the Revolution. Hardly any touch upon the late 19th century. Most books that take place at that time seem centered around Britain or the US. It's interesting to compare and contrast France to those settings. I am enjoying learning a bit more about France at the time.

What's everyone else reading? Anything REALLY good? :-)


  1. Yep - the multiple narrators thing can either work really well or become really annoying. The book sounds interesting, though! I don't think I've read anything with that setting either.

  2. Cezanne's Quarry sounds neat! I love historical mysteries. :) However, I'm reading one myself right now that switches narrators pretty frequently, and it's driving me insane! lol

    Colette's books are all in fin-de-siecle France. :D


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