December 31, 2008

Good to a Fault - Marina Endicott

This is the second book in my Giller Prize Shortlist marathon - another excellent book that drew me in completely, but because of the ending, overall I didn't like it as much as Through Black Spruce.

I think that it is really the characters in this book that make it, rather than the plot.  All of the characters seem like people I could know, and I could especially relate to Clara, the main character.  However unlike Annie in Through Black Spruce, I don't think that Clara could have been written by a male author, and even the male characters seem less real-to-life than the female characters.

The main story has to do with Clara, a middle-aged woman who leads a very solitary and isolated life, who, after a car accident, invites the family in the other car into her house and life.  Predictably, chaos ensues, and predictably, she learns to love the family as her own, and predictably she is upset when she is left alone.  Not much in terms of plot.  There is also a love story as a subplot, as well as the story of Lorraine, the mother in the other car, who is fighting cancer.

But because the characters were so well written, I couldn't put this book down as I was reading it (and stayed awake far too late last night to finish it).

My one disappointment with this book was the ending.  In that there wasn't one.  The book just sort of ended with no resolution of the various threads.  Quite a let-down to have invested the time to read a book, only to not find out what happened at the end!  Maybe she was leaving room to plan for a sequel (to give the author the benefit of the doubt) - I would love to see these characters back in another book.

So that's 2 Giller shortlisted books down, 3 left to go.  So far, the committee made the right decision...

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