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REVIEW: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Reader, this book was published in 1847. Back then, writers liked to describe every bird and leaf and brooklet. Dialogue often consisted of elaborate monologues. Many of the ideas and values of the time are outdated and even offensive today. Still, I couldn’t help but love it. I read an advanced copy, beautifully illustrated by Marjolein Bastin. This would be the perfect edition to own, with gorgeous watercolor paintings that Jane herself would aspire to create. What satisfied me about Jane Eyre was her spirit and character – she was unapologetically herself. She reminded me a little bit of Anne Shirley (except that Anne was more “apologetically” herself.) Jane just wants to be accepted for who she is, but she is unloved for most of her early life. The story follows Jane Eyre through several stages. Her childhood as an orphan living with cruel relatives is heartbreaking. She endures hardship at a poorly run boarding school. She is comfortable, but unfulfilled as a governess at Thor

REVIEW: The Unseen World by Liz Moore

In 2020, my reading goal was 90 books. I surpassed that goal, reading 91, many of which stood out as exceptional. The Unseen World was the first of these.

I read three Liz Moore novels last year, and each one was completely different. Long Bright River is a police procedural set in an opioid crisis. The Words of Every Song is a series of interconnected short stories about the music industry. The Unseen World, my favorite, is a family mystery with a touch of sci-fi. What the books all have in common is an emphasis on characters and relationships.

There was something nostalgic for me in The Unseen World. I identified right away with the child narrator, Ada, who was born the same year I was. She is 13 at the start of the book when her father develops early-onset Alzheimer’s. When I was about that age, I read A Wrinkle in Time and it became one of my favorite books. In it, Meg Murray (also 13) enlists the help of her neighbor to find her father. He is a scientist working on a scientific breakthrough just before he disappears. Maybe it’s a stretch, but Ada’s story feels familiar to me. Meg travels through time and space to literally find her imprisoned father – Ada travels into a virtual time and space in order to find answers about her father’s identity.

The Unseen World combines multiple genres. It is mainly a slow-building coming of age story with a touch of science fiction. In this case, the sci-fi aspect is what resulted in an emotional, satisfactory ending for me. Like A Wrinkle in Time, this novel gives me the feeling of revisiting an old friend. A new favorite.

The Unseen World
Liz Moore
Published July 26h, 2016 by W. W, Norton Company
451 pages


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