Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Review:- Anita SHREVE – “All He Ever Wanted”

Publ: 2003
Pensby Library
ISBN: 0 316 86114 6
Genre: General fiction
Pages: 280p
Continuing to read books by this author
Rating: ***** **

What led you to pick up this book?
Continuing to read books by this author

Describe the plot without giving anything away.
Nicholas Van Tassel,a New England college lecturer, is a proud and orderly man but one night he is thrown from his usual equilibrium by meeting Etna Bliss. She is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night she is glimpsed, standing under a streetlight, by a Van Tassdel who was dining in the same room - a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds his memories of the drama that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night.

What did you think of the characters?
Van Tassel’s reaction to seeing Etna is so well encapsulated it is almost unbelievable – except to those of us who have met someone by whom they were completely enchanted. The emotions it then brings back from our youth are startlingly clear and true.

What did you think about the style?
Written as though by Van Tassel it has a wonderfully pedantic early 20th century style. Again – very believable.

Thoughts on the book jacket / cover.
Pretty irrelevant to the story – could have been much more relevant and much more attracting.

Would I recommend it?
Yes, though not Shreve’s most readable book.

Totally irrelevant side note:

I suspect it helps if you are a bloke and have been there – got the T-shirt.!

ANITA SHREVE – see "Resistance"

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