Sunday, February 01, 2009

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (2007)

If there is only one book you must read in these dreary and interminable winter months of little light and loads of snow (at least here in Toronto), it is this one. I haven't felt as transported by a tale, so completely rapt by its telling since I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD when I was thirteen.

This epistolary gem follows the life of British writer Juliet Ashton in 1946 who quite by accident receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey, who has read a book about Charles Lamb in which Juliet's name and address are inscribed in the flyleaf. That book changes Dawsey's life and Juliet's too. She becomes entranced by their correspondence and what is revealed about the German occupation of that Channel island during World War II.

This is a book for people who love to read and who understand the balm that a well-told tale provides, that literature can be a life force.

There are many wonderful surprises here, not the least of which is the proof of the kindness of strangers many times told. Don't be surprised to find yourself searching, among other treasure hunts, for a children's story about a cat named Solange.

No comments: