Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Jacqui, who blogs at JacquiWine’s Journal, which marries her two loves: books and wine.
Jacqui writes eloquently about wine, but her blog’s main focus is book reviews of which there is a wide and varied range, including modern classics, vintage noir and hard-boiled novels, translated fiction and contemporary fiction.
Jacqui lives in the South of England and freelances in customer research and analysis. She started in healthcare, but her interest in wine led her to The Wine Society. Her other interests include films and music.
Without further ado, here are Jacqui’s choices:
This novel has one of the most intriguing openings I have encountered in many years of reading. As the book opens, the main character, Juan, recalls the death of his father’s wife, Teresa, shortly after the couple’s honeymoon some 40 years ago: Teresa shot herself in the heart with her father’s gun. Juan’s father, Ranz, was not present at the moment of Teresa’s death, and at the time, no one appeared to know why she took her own life.
By the end of the novel the uncertainties surrounding Teresa’s suicide are resolved, but A Heart So White offers so much more than a conventional mystery. It seems (at least in part) to be a meditation on some of Marias’s favourite themes: truth, secrets, relationships, communication and death. The plot is very cleverly constructed; it feels layered as particular images and themes recur and reverberate throughout the novel. The writing is wonderful: philosophical, reflective, almost hypnotic in style. It’s a novel to sink into and savour, one that rewards rereading.
This is the book that rekindled my love of reading in the wilderness years following my O-levels. I recall having to study particular novels and the requirement to analyse the life out of these books turned me away from reading for a few years. All that changed when I picked up The Great Gatsby. Here was a book full of intrigue and mystery, an elegy to the illusions and tragedies of the American Dream. Need I say more? It remains one of my favourite novels and never fails to surprise me with something new and different despite several rereads.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been championing this book for the past year! Cassandra, a graduate student at Berkeley, drives home to her family’s ranch for the wedding of her identical twin sister, Judith, where she seems all set to derail the proceedings. This is a brilliant novel featuring one of my favourite women in literature. If you like complex characters with plenty of light and shade, this is the novel for you. Cassandra is intelligent, precise and at times witty, charming and loving. But she can also be manipulative, reckless, domineering, self-absorbed and cruel. She’s a mass of contradictions and behaves abominably at times, and yet she has my sympathies. Cassandra at the Wedding was first published in 1962, and it’s wonderful to see it back in print in the shape of a lovely edition from NYRB Classics.
Thanks, Jacqui, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
As expected, these are wonderful choices. I have the Javier Marias’ novel in my TBR, having picked it up very cheaply in a book sale last summer. I read and loved The Great Gatsby many years ago (my review is here). And now I’m off to hunt out a copy of Cassandra at the Wedding, it sounds so fabulous!
What do you think of Jacqui’s choices? Have you read any of these books?