Tuesday, June 06, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro

As the title implies, Innocence is about three young women in London, learning about themselves as they leave home for the first time and attend acting school. Fourteen years later, as Evie faces a turning point in her adult life, she flashes back to the days of "innocence" that lead her to where she is today.

When she is on the mark, Kathleen Tessaro writes prose you want to roll your tongue around and savor like fine wine. It is dense, delectable and begging to be spoken aloud--"In summer, the fig tree drops its heavy fruit to form a thick, gooey compote on the pavement below...." Her gift for descriptions draws you in, setting the mood for her characters, "It's like a house in a Victorian play; overflowing with life, busy with knowledge and experience. Even the dogs lolling about on the oriental carpet are engaged in battles of good versus evil."

I thoroughly enjoyed her debut novel, Elegance, but in my mind her sophomore effort, Innocence, is the more fulfilling read. This is most likely due to Evie who, from her impassioned defense of love at age eighteen--to her contemplation of her co-worker: "Each week, I marvel in fascination at the fragments of R. Fitzroy's life as they unfold before me." Evie reminds me of myself.

Evie's confusion as she stands at the crossroads, unable to make a choice in any direction, can find resonance for all of us.

See the review at Armchair Interviews - Innocence.

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