30 Following


Currently reading

Gabriela, Cravo e Canela
Jorge Amado
Progress: 157/358 pages
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
T.E. Lawrence
Progress: 189/672 pages
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
G. Edward Griffin
Progress: 41/608 pages
Peter the Great
Robert K. Massie
Progress: 472/934 pages
Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty
Bradley K. Martin
A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
Charles B. MacDonald
Progress: 191/712 pages
The German Army 1933-1945
Matthew Cooper
Progress: 198/598 pages
Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment
John F Williams
Progress: 22/238 pages


House in Flanders,A - Michael Jenkins

Here is a remarkable short novel (told by an unnamed Englishman, sharing with the reader his memories of the long summer of 1951, which he spent as an adolescent in a small French village straddling the Belgian frontier) about a family largely made up of women. Strong, resilient, loving and compassionate women of varied temperaments across 2 generations. They are "the Aunts", who, along with an "Uncle" and a host of relations, eagerly welcome the English adolescent (who, thanks to his mother, was already passably conversant in French) into the fullness of their lives.

The matriarch of the family is the eldest, Tante Yvonne, who is in her mid-80s and has devoted her life to her siblings and community. "She radiated calm and authority. Small, almost squat, she moved slowly with the help of a silver-capped cane. Her expression was usually kindly, but her hooded eyes were full of intelligence and wit, and her glance was still penetrating." No shrinking violet, she.

The author proceeds to tell the reader, chapter by chapter, about some of the colorful characters who constitute the heart and soul of this book. In this way, the reader becomes a part of the great old house in which the family resides and is witness to a community on the cusp of change in the early postwar world.

When I began to read this book, I confess I wasn't sure I'd like it. But as I read deeper into it, I became enchanted and fascinated with the various family members, whom the author made flesh in my imagination with a dazzling economy of words. Anyone in search of a well-written, poignant, and at turns funny and endearing story need look no further. You'll savor the experience.