Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Visit to Egypt Via The Mistress of Nothing: This Is Book Talk Week.

I'm still on a bit of a high from the great discussion we had last night at the Pierrefons Libraray about Kate Pullinger's Mistress of Nothing. The novel won the Governor General's prize for literature in 2009, beating out Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness and Michael Crummey's Galore, among other books.

The book is an historical novel, told in the first person by a lady's maid, who goes with her employer, Lady Lucie Duff Gordon, to Egypt in the 1860s in hopes that the hot, dry climate will cure Lady Duff Gordon's tuberculosis. Much of the description is directly inspired by the lady's letters home which became bestsellers. But the story revolves about the situation the maid finds herself in: pregnant by the lady's Egyptian factotum and then cast out by the noblewoman, who feels betrayed or is enviious, or perhaps both.

A book that is to be recommended by those who like a well-researched novel that is really evocative of the period, as well as those who like a story about courage.

The other books this week will be Le sourire de la petite juive by Abla Farhoud this evening in Outremont, The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder at the Atwater Library and Rosa Candida by Audur Ava Òlafsdottèr at the Kirkland Library. Should be fun.

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