Mary Swann by Carol Shields, 2006, Harper, London.
This was the book groups read for the month. Mary Swann submitted a paper bag of poems to a local newspaper, a few hours before she dies at her husband’s hands, who then takes his own life too. Sarah Maloney, a writer finds a slim book of Mary Swann’s poems and she joins with a biographer, a librarian and a publisher to piece together Mary’s life and the reasons behinds her written words. The book culminates in a symposium in the name of Mary Swann. However, the symposium turns into a crime scene as one after the five remaining copies of Mary Swann’s poems disappear. The most interesting thing about Mary Swann’s life was the fact that her husband murdered her and nonbody wanted to talk about that, the rest of her life is just dull and boring, to the point that people were making up things to create a life.
I enjoyed the first section, which set the scene for the book and the last section of the book, which turned into slap-stick comedy of people running around an hotel trying to figure everything out, blaming one person after another. Unfortunately the rest of the books, that I managed to force myself to read was as dull as Mary Swann’s life.
Although I do have a friend, who as read other books by the same author and said she had enjoyed them, so all may not be lost.
2 out of 5
Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It – Gary Taubes ~ review here
Something To Answer For – P H Newby
This is first book to ever win the Man Booker Prize in 1969 and it’s a little odd, but more to follow.
The Elected Member – Bernice Rubens
Man Booker prize winner 1970.
Offshore – Penelope Fitzgerald
Man Booker prize winner 1979
Simply Tuesday – Emily Freeman
In A Free State – V S Naipaul
The Siege Of Krishnapur – J G Farrell
Also a book group read, which because I wasn’t able to attend the group this last week, I shall pick it up next and let you know and besides there is always room for a few more!