Monday, 10 February 2020

The Visible World. Book review






Book Review
The Visible World by Mark Slouka

This book, written in two quite distinct parts, documents a child’s immigrant life in New York in the first section, and imagines his mother’s wartime life in the second.


 I particularly enjoyed the childhood memoir in which there were memorable descriptive passages.
‘She had calves as big and smooth as bowling pins, and she always sat on the sofa with her legs to one side as if glued at the knees, and smelled sweet and sad, like a dusty pastry.’
‘He had a square block of a head silvered by stubble and ears like miniature lettuces’.


The author has a masterly way with words and a melodic style.


The second part I found more problematic. A son writing about his mother’s sexual encounters did not sit easy with me, though I fully understand his need to try to find the cause of her deep unhappiness with life. Despite these misgivings, my interest was held to the end.


I think the most fascinating aspect of this book is the description of the life and experiences of the Czech refugees in New York in the late 1940’s. The author skillfully draws us into his childhood. We find ourselves in a somewhat alien environment which is of course normality for the child.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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