07/02/2009

Emotional Geology (by Linda Gillard)

I hadn't read anything by Linda Gillard, or even heard of her until recently. However I have very much enjoyed several other books published by Transita. They produce novels about women in their forties that don't follow typical chick-lit or romantic fiction storylines.

So I was pleased to receive 'Emotional Geology' for review, from The Bookbag. It's the story of Rose, a textile artist who suffers with manic depression. She lives on the small island of Uist, recouping after a painful and upsetting end to a long-term relationship.

Rose meets Calum who is a teacher, and also a poet. His poetry, which is sometimes dark and moving, resonates with Rose, and inspires her. She finds him rather devastatingly attractive, too. Rose and Calum both have demons from the past; this novel explores the way they learn to forgive themselves, and to live in the present once more.

I found the style of this book rather confusing at first. The narrative switches frequently between first person and third person, interspersed with brief forays into the past. However, I soon got used to it and found the style effective.

I found the book very readable; disturbing in places, and with considerably more bad language than I am comfortable with. Overall I found it moving - in a low-key way - and thought-provoking. Recommended.

(You can also read my longer review of Emotional Geology on the Bookbag site)

1 comment:

Linda Gillard said...

Thanks, Sue for your review (and the review on Bookbag.) I'm the author. :-)

Your point about bad language is an interesting one. EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY was my first novel and I had no idea that readers would be put off by this. (Consider what's said in films and on tv, or indeed what you can hear standing at a bus-stop!) But a few readers have been distracted by this, so with subsequent books I thought carefully about whether "bad language" was really necessary for the sake of authenticity, or whether something milder would do.

Feedback from readers is invaluable to an author. I don't always adapt of course, but it's useful and interesting to hear readers' responses. When you're writing the book, you don't have any idea what someone else will make of it. You keep writing and hope for the best!