I’ve been lucky and blessed in the reviews I’ve received for Lucia’s War but this one is just a bit special. It was written by Paul Spalding-Mulcock and want to say here up front that I will treasure it for the rest of my days.
Some jewels amid the gold:
Lanigan sprinkles her magic upon the novel’s themes, embedding them with dextrous elan. Following Beckett’s advice to ensure that the artist remains invisible in their art, themes themselves are revealed by dint of creative deliquescence operating upon the printed words. Lanigan transforms her themes into a wide river which flows through Lucia’s turbulent life and as such their promulgation is profound yet felt en masse rather than tediously expostulated and thereby shattering the novel’s realism.
My editor Liz Hudson was delighted by this. Another one:
Lucia slips into the idiolect of her oppressed ancestors, these colourful colloquialisms acting as atonal sharp notes counterpointing the flat register of the stilted conventional English vernacular of the period. This Schoenberg-like device simultaneously expresses Lucia’s repressed, authentic persona, whilst also jarringly reminding us that she is an outsider and ‘…there is nothing lonelier than living amongst the English when you are not of their race’. We are never able to forget that Lucia is L’Autre personified, however polished her conversation, erudition and conspicuous intelligence.
I am indebted to Lyeanne Beckford-Jones for her help with Lucia’s language and dialect. Much credit is due to her for the power of those passages.
E.M. Forster’s Howards End has us witness the squalid collateral damage when the prose and poetry of life clash rather than ‘connect’. An illegitimate child conceived in the hopeless wastes of a forbidden, desperate coupling allows Forster to move his reader nearly to tears. For this jaded reviewer, Lanigan did much the same, for the final line of her wondrous novel has no less force than Forster’s gem. Lanigan may not be E. M. Forster, but she is Susan Lanigan and for that we should all be grateful.
Brb, think I’m going to cry 🙂