A Temporal Literary Triptych of Women
by Collie Collier
April 2004 Firestarter
Traditionally April first is All Fools' Day, full of tricks and
mischief. Not being much of a practical joker, I decided instead to
simply do something different, instead of mischievous. Therefore the
Firestarter for this month is three reviews of books I've recently
read and enjoyed.
The reviews are in a chronological order of sorts. The
fictional historical novel set in the 17th century is first,
followed by the adventurous autobiographical tales set in Africa
in the first half of the 20th century. Finally we have the most
contemporary autobiographical one, which is set in the US and
whose author is still alive today.
Clicking on each title will open a new window for you to read
the book review in. Enjoy, and if you like the reviews, please
buy the books too! They're all fascinating women in their own
way -- even the fictional one.
With a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
- A fictional creation to explain the identity of the
mysteriously enigmatic woman in Vermeer's painting of
the same name.
With the Night
by Beryl Markham
- Autobiography which reads like an adventure story
-- of the incredible life of an amazing sportswoman,
daredevil, and pilot in colonial African during the
first half of the 20th century.
Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
- The classic first book of five, relating Angelou's
autobiography of her difficult, inspiring childhood as
a black girl in Arkansas.
03.04.04: Pat's comments
(and my replies)
Just finished reading your three reviews and am really
impressed with your work!!! Especially enjoyed the review on Beryl
Markham's book. Actually I have that here -- read it some years
ago when first published and found it very interesting then.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the
Yes, I also was quite impressed with Beryl
Markham's story. You remember the movie "Out of Africa," with
Meryl Streep, which was about Isak Dineson (who was for a while
a friend of Beryl)?
Remember the part in the movie where the woman's
lover, the famous hunter Denys Finch-Hatton (played by Robert
Redford in the film), pretty much dumped her for another
Well, that person was apparently Beryl Markham. She
had a just amazing life, I must say.
Also have the Angelou book which I haven't read yet, but
certainly will get to it now. 'Girl with the Pearl Earring'
have not read but as the movie is around would like to see
it. However, much prefer to read before seeing Hollywood's
version as it allows me to paint my own picture.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the
I found the Angelou book a bit creepy, but then
I've never been able to quite grasp that level of vicious racism
she had to deal with.
Fair warning, there's a child sexual abuse scene in
the book, and I found the book itself inspiring in its relating
of the occasional triumph over adversity... but it's not really
what I'd call a joyously uplifting or happy-making read, you
I've been reliably informed the plot of
the movie "Girl With a Pearl Earring" doesn't do the book
On the other hand, the woman I spoke to at the
book club meeting said the actress they have playing the girl
occasionally was just creepily effective at replicating certain
paintings of Vermeer's -- it was quite literally like seeing
the painting suddenly come to life, she said.
Anyway, all I can say is well done -- I'm impressed!
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