Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Postmistress and The Report

Moi's sister gave moi The Postmistress for moi's birthday. It is a lovely book about how to, basically, live your life when terrible things are happening in the world. Most of the characters in this book live in Cape Cod during WWII, and one character is an American journalist who works with Edward R. Murrow in London. To various extremes, the characters address this theme of what-to-do? Writer Sarah Blake's thesis is to be aware, which, generally, yes, is a good idea.

I found the actual postmistress, who is ostensibly the main character, at least judging by the title, an extremely strange protagonist, with whom I did not identify at all even though we are clearly meant to identify with her. Early on she discloses that there was a piece of mail which she did not deliver, a shocking revelation to people who believe in the US Postal Service but perhaps not to anyone who's ever dealt with the US Postal Service. She also has an oockie doctor's visit to prove she's a virgin and provide "proof" to her mister-friend, who will presumably be impressed by the information.

Descriptions of the London tube station shelters were of particular interest to me, mainly because I think that's ingenious and I also love LOVE LOVE Henry Miller's drawings of the same.

By coincidence, after I read The Postmistress I read a new book called The Report, a fiction book by Jessica Francis Kane based on the actual event of 173 dying in a London tube station during the blitz - not the result of bombing, but of a crush of human bodies. I only ended up reading about half of it because the middle part was a bit dull, with all the excitement of journalism performed 40 years after the event. And then, by another coincidence, I found a 2001 article in the New Yorker about this phenomenon of people getting crushed, which I never really could/can wrap my head around. I also find it difficult to finish this article because it's making me feel all claustrophobic.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Glad you liked the book and amazed at all the other connected writings you found.