I can’t start this post by saying it’s just another Monday. Here in Seattle the sun is going to be 95% obscured by the moon. Kind of crazy if you think about it. I’ve read all sorts of things about what happens. Not the mystical end-of-world things, but that in the natural world it causes birds and other nocturnal animals to begin their preparations for sleep and that the increased pull of the moon causes subtle changes in the weather and the tides. All kind of fascinating and a powerful reminder that while we may be destroying the planet, ultimately it’s us who will be gone and the planet will live on.
The solar eclipse is just one of the things that seems to be impacting my reading. Last week I marked another year in my life. Between that and the feeling that America’s descent to a place I never hoped to live in is picking up speed has left me turning towards something different in my reading. I’ve always loved books as escape, but now, maybe in response to how foolishly and ignorantly words are being used by this president I want need reading that is careful and filled with words used as they’re meant to be—with thought and precision. With meaning.
All I can do for this novel is to share a brief snippet of the synopsis, which should make it clear why I’m reading it.
Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.
Despite the fact that I never had children I am always fascinated by novels that look at the complexity of the decision in relation to ambition and women’s lives. This reminded me of one of my favorite books from 2016, Forty Rooms. I’ve just started it and am hopeful. Strong prose and a deep dive into one woman’s heart and mind as she moves through life.
I’m going into this novel completely blind because what little I’ve heard as been mixed. Several bloggers I trust found it too slow, but as that’s what’s working for me right now, I’m going to give it a try. Plus, it seems to be rooted in the same premise of children and a woman’s role. From Goodreads:
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.