Time to write about an excellent novel: Anna Hope's debut, Wake.
This is a beautifully written, moving novel about the lives and legacy of soldiers in World War One. London is preparing for the public, ceremonial funeral of The Unknown Soldier and Hope creates a convincing portrait of the city and its dance halls, government offices and homes after the destruction of the war. There is little sense of celebration: people are mourning the lost, or the un-returned, and the men who have come home from the war are scarred by their experiences. The novel has three protagonists: Ada, a mother whose son is missing; Hettie, a nightclub dancer; Evelyn, who distributes benefits to returning soldiers in a government office. Hope tells each of these stories and weaves between them episodes from soldiers' lives in France. I found the three stories interesting and lifelike - Hope's technique of writing the whole novel in the present tense means that each character's thought processes are minutely recorded so that their inner lives are superbly created. It is a slow-moving novel but I appreciated this: Hope writes in careful, thoughtful detail and there are moments of drama which are also well-managed. All in all, this is a very satisfying read: it's unsentimental (though moving), well-observed and unusual - even though so much writing has been inspired by World War One, this novel has, undoubtedly, something new to say.
And a completed piece of knitting in time for Handmade Monday!! I'm really pleased with this. I've written before about this pattern (from Knits To Give by Debbie Bliss - though it should more properly be called Knits To Keep) and the wool, which is just lovely. The cover is a good, snug fit and it was an easy pattern - it looks misleadingly like garter stitch, but it's a little more complicated than that. I need a reason to make another one - I guess there's always 'giving' ... !