Of grandparents – two brief reviews

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

moonglowHaving read a few years ago The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay and loved it, I was looking forward to Chabon’s latest novel and was not disappointed. It was another gloriously rambling, lavish novel written on a large canvas spanning the entire lifetime of the authors’ grandparents. In it, his kooky grandmother and nerdy grandfather are lovingly, if unflinchingly portrayed, warts and all. That is not to say that it is a straightforward memoir, as is made clear in the preface, but a fictionalised one and a great read.

The grandparents are never named other than “my grandfather” and “my grandmother” by the narrator. Their lives, loves and adventures are chronicled in a fast paced narrative, involving the Office of Secret Services during the second world war, rockets, mental illness, the joys of parenthood and a few other things.

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Havia-god-in-ruinsng read a few years ago Life After Life and loved it, I was looking forward to Atkinson’s follow-up novel and was not disappointed. It was another gloriously disorienting, lavish novel written on a large canvas spanning the entire lifetime of Teddy Todd, one of the more lovable of Life After Life’s characters. In it, Teddy and his loved ones have their thoughts and actions carefully presented and dissected. That is not to say that it is overly analytical, rather that it provides a unique combination of the big picture and the minutiae of daily life, making for a great read.

Teddy marries Nancy and they have a child, Viola who in turn has two children. Their lives, loves and adventures are chronicled in an exaggeratedly discontinuous narrative, involving the Battle of Britain during the second world war, bombers, illness, the joys of grandparenthood and a few other things.

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