Monday, November 5, 2007
The Air We Breathe
I was lucky enough to win a copy of Andrea Barrett's The Air We Breathe from Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. This novel takes place in upstate New York in 1916 in a village called Tamarack Lake - a place primarily populated by sufferers of tuberculosis. The wealthy stay in private cute cottages, the less fortunate are wards of the state and thus live in the public sanatorium. There is a war going on across the ocean and the residents of this community wonder and wait to find out if the United States will become involved. Barrett takes her time with this story, introducing us to each character in turn, so that the reader might get to know each one as an individual - how they came to be in this place, and their hopes and dreams. Leo Marberg is the main character in this tale, a young Russian immigrant who speaks multiple languages and was trained as a chemist in the old country; he has not yet fulfilled his dreams in this new world. Eudora and Naomi are girls from the village with differing ideas of how to get what they want from this life. Miles Fairchild is a wealthy owner of a concrete company as well as a patient; he tries to use his time productively. This is the story of how these people and others become entwined in one another's lives, of the love quadrangle that results, and ultimately the disaster that occurs.
I really, really enjoyed reading this book. I thought Andrea Barrett's characterization was brilliant, I felt as thought I knew each person in the story. She uses a unique perspective in telling this story - it is told in the collective "We" and represents the other patients at the sanatorium, the ones not directly involved in the action. I particularly enjoyed learning about early x-ray technology as well as how tuberculosis was treated in these times with no appropriate medications. Overall, I would recommend this book. I understand that there are characters in this book that have also appeared in her other books so this might be of particular interest to those who have read Barrett's other work.
In other news.....I saw flurries when I was out driving a little bit ago. Snow flurries! Eeek!
Also...Lotus has been kind enough to give me a lovely award, the Schmooze award.
This award is for the bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”
I would like to pass this award on to the following people - and as always - no need to do anything. Pass it on if you wish, or just enjoy - it's up to you.
I'd like to give it to all of you who've welcomed me so kindly here and made me feel at home.
Of course I give this award in particular to Lotus, who completely epitomizes the meaning of the Schmooze award, in my opinion.