There are books that take you away from your reality, cutting your ties with daily hassles and absorb you in. Have you recently read one like that?
#OnceUponARiver by Diane Setterfield definitely fits that category. It’s filled with magical realism- but surprisingly some science too- lots of interesting characters, a Negro farmer with a golden heart, her wife with a magical eye that sees through people. A couple with a lost child. A lady with a lost childhood. A boy that doesn’t fit. The characters are so beautifully told, and each of them has their own stories, knitted around the story of 2 little girls. I couldn’t help shedding a few tears, but the book is not a heartbreaking one, it’s so purely written and beautifully read.
Once upon a time, the river brings a dead girl to those people. A girl of four. Lying on a pub’s room, the dead girl comes back to life. But who is this girl, really? What’s her story?
‘It is plain she is gone, poor lass. She is not breathing, and besides, you have only to look at her colour. Who will carry the poor child to the long room? You take her, Higgs. ’
‘But it’s cold there,’ Jonathan protested.
His mother patted his shoulder. ‘She won’t mind that. She is not really here any more, and it is never cold in the place she has gone to.’
‘Let me carry her.’
‘You carry the lantern, and unlock the door for Mr Higgs . She’s heavy for you, my love.’
Setterfield magically binds the stories of each character into each other, and until theend the book doesn’t let you go. You rarely see a book with all three pillars of a novel very well done, the plot, the structure and the characters. This book does them all. So beautiful. Read it, if you like magical realism or the river Thames.
I don’t know if you have obsessive rules like I do, but I am glad I read this book in hardcover. I love books like this to materialise in my hands. Sitting on my favourite chair, I dissolved into the plot and it was so joyful.
Funny I know, but books like this one, I cannot read on Kindle, I don’t like to read e-copies of books that touch my soul. Is it Weird?