Saturday, March 15, 2014

Isabel’s Bed – Elinor Lipman

I am re-reading books by some of my favourite authors. When I hit my thirties, I discovered several female writers who wrote with greater creativity than the shallower chick-lit. Don’t get me wrong, I love chick-lit too, but sometimes you want something that will keep you guessing, that is not predictable. These authors include Anne Tyler, Alice Hoffman, Laurie Graham, Curtis Sittenfield, Fannie Flagg, and Elinor Lipman, one of whose books I am talking about today. EL has written many books, and while they vary greatly, they usually involve a quirky relationship, and a very strong female lead. Her most famous book is probably “Then She Found Me”, which was turned in to a film. I didn’t see the film, because I read the description, and felt that it wasn’t going to be true to the book, which was brilliant. So, the one I have just read, Isabel’s Bed is just great. It isn’t complicated, but it is entertaining and well-written. It is about a writer who is trying to get published, without much success, so she applies for a job as a ghost-writer for a flamboyant woman who is living as a recluse in a beautiful house by the sea, with her discredited artist husband and their handyman. Throw in the scandal where her lover is murdered by his wife after she catches them in bed together. This is just a basic outline of the story. There are so many twists and turns in this adventure, but it is all described so well, and it almost feels like a farce on the stage. You can’t help being gripped by the characters; they seem so believable, even though the story is quite incredible at times. It isn’t life-changing deep, but it is thought-provoking as you wonder if there are people out there who really live like that. My other favourite of Elinor Lipman is The Inn at Lake Devine. Fantastic, and hugely enjoyable.

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