Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Russell's A Thread of Grace

Last night I finished reading Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace.  I had originally thought I might use this for my LA101, but I obviously took too long to finish it!   It's a beautifully written example of creative non-fiction -- she is bringing to light events in north west Italy in 1943-45 when the Italians managed to hide and protect 43,000 Jews from the Nazis.  I loved Russell's two science fiction books (The Sparrow and Children of God) mainly because of her writing. Characterization is her forte.  The reason it took so long for me to finish this one, though, has something to do with all that characterization.  There are MANY characters in A Thread of Grace and thus many plot lines.  I'm such a sucker for plot, that I have trouble getting drawn into a story that follows too many plots. Plus the Germans keep killing off all the best characters. This is really my problem, not hers, though. And it's such a grim piece of history that it's hard to imagine a plot that coherently follows a single individual in the midst of everything.

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