Author: Amy Bloom
This book is set during the 1940’s but it doesn’t read like it is. With the exception of scenes wherein Bloom talks about experimental surgery during WWII, this story could happen at almost any point in time, which is what lends it a timeless and memorable experience. As I’ve admitted before, I judge books by their covers and titles and this one wasn’t looking promising but I needed something to lose myself in from my regular fare of nonfiction and academic research. The cover is dull and the picture doesn’t match up to the title, let alone the story, but I think an ostentatious cover and title would have been a let down for such a mellow story. Bloom’s writing is strong and perfect with the story she’s created, but it’s mellow in a way that you don’t feel like you’re being tortured with million-dollar words when a ten-dollar words is sufficient. She builds the story in stages without overloading the reader with an extensive background.
I feel like Bloom took a peek inside my internal thoughts and perceptions of myself and brought that character to life in the form of Eva. Whatever wild side I think I have, Bloom wrote into Iris’ character. Eva and Iris are half-sisters with the same father, and while I expected them to hate each other and to fight all the time, Bloom chose a more respectful, loving relationship. Bloom is another author who relies on letter writing for characters to express their thoughts and feelings, which is a welcoming break from the usual contrived get-together scene that most authors seem to rely on. I also appreciated Bloom’s approach to simply hinting at a scene without needing to play it all out. She has a deft touch with these scenes and gives the reader everything they need to know in bits and pieces, and you still feel like you’re part of the story. She says so much without saying it all and I like that. This is my first time reading Bloom, and I’m glad I started with Lucky Us. I look forwards to discovering her other books.
I did drink tea while reading this book, but I was drawn so quickly into the story that I completely forgot to pay attention to the tea portion of this blog. I can see why most tea and book recommendations are very superficial. Someone makes the recommendation to pair a certain tea with a book because the flavour contains hints and notes that are similar to the genre of the book. The person making the recommendation generally doesn’t care if you follow their advice because they haven’t actually tried to read the book and drink the tea and map out the sensory experience. It’s harder than it looks! The conscious mind can only hold one active thought at a time, so it’s especially difficult to read a book and try to describe your thoughts, feelings, emotions, that the tea brings up and out of you. So forgive me that I haven’t tracked my tea thoughts in this post!