The Wonderful Women Novelists
I am partial to women novelists.
Years ago, I discovered that my fiction reading consisted largely of novels by men. Well, Agatha Christie has always been my favourite, but she was one among the few exceptions. I decided to right the imbalance, nay, inequality and set forth in all earnestness. Since then, I have read many of them and the journey through the worlds created by these women novelists has been most delightful. Apart from the style, of which a keen reader can say a lot, these works have revealed so much that I might have likely missed if I had not read them. Points of view, insights and observations on a variety of things and, in particular, about human nature have made me rich beyond measure. I have also felt, in contrast to the works of men, a more purposeful and consistent characterisation, and a more leisurely and measured approach to the actual development of characters.
I would not want to compare my favourite women novelists. Yet, among the ones whom I find most fascinating, the first to come to mind is Anita Shreve. To me, reading her reaffirmed, beyond a shadow of doubt, that there is no greater pleasure than reading a book that is beautiful in many ways. Reading a book like, for example, Anita Shreve’s Fortune’s Rocks, is an experience like no other. It is a most soothing activity that can be conducted in solitude and yet, at the same time, a most satisfying spiritual communion between two people, if the reader related to the writer in that way.
Once I knew that I was into an enduring romance, I shed my long-held reluctance to buying works of fiction and my belief that only reference works and suchlike were worth owning. Chancing upon some book sales, I bought a good many at economical prices.
Fortune’s Rocks, The Pilot’s Wife, All He Ever Wanted, Sea Glass (all of which I have read), The Weight Of Water, Eden Close, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding In December and Body Surfing (all of which I am eagerly waiting to read)
Circle of Friends, The Copper Beech, Nights of Rain and Stars, Scarlet Feather, Quentins and Tara Road
Among others, I should mention a few notable additions to my library – A Certain Death and A Taste for Death by PD James, and Simisola and The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell.
Well, assuming that I am going to be reading at a good pace, I should not worry for a few months about finding a good book. A large supply is at hand; and a hunt for more not in the too distant future.