The book was up to a nice start, and then the narrator brought up The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and I thought "Oh, this is gonna be good?"
Fifth book read for #scarathlon2022 #teamslaughter #scarathlondailyprompts #promptmaze #bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks #spookoween @TheSpineView #31by31 @Catsandbooks #pointsathon @DieAReader @GHABI4ROSES #outstandingoctober @Andrew65
Another stack of some recent Goodwill finds over numerous trips.
This book, published in 1980 when the author was 65, astonished me. It won the Toronto Book Award in 1981, but the book or the author are not well-known. Weinman in her afterword calls it an "interior feminist espionage novel", & because the protagonist Shirley, alias Lola, travels from city to city to meet her mysterious lover who works for an international organisation called The Agency, I thought this would be Graham Greene-esque territory.
Thanks #NYRBBookClub for another really good read! This is definitely not a book I would have picked up on my own. While it's hard to say that this story is “enjoyable“ I did enjoy the feverish paranoid quality of the characters stories and imaginings. I started out trying to sort out what was true and what wasn't and then realized it would be better just to go with the flow. A truly unique and mesmerizing read.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
And the final question:
According to Weinman's afterword, Weinzweig struggled with the ending of her novel for over a year. Did you find the ending satisfactory?
It has been posited that Shirley is suffering from schizophrenia, but as was the case in the April NYRB selection, it is evident throughout the book she has a curiosity in & appreciation for art. Do you think this was autobiographical? Or do you think there was something else at work?
Shirley has several unusual encounters in a series of vignettes throughout the book. What did you make of these encounters? Are there any that struck you as particularly memorable or unusual & how did they change your expectations of the novel?