Saturday, April 02, 2022

Seven books set during springtime

Aleksandra Hogendorf is a writer currently based in San Sebastián, Spain.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven books set during spring, including:
The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald

This is the kind of book that soaks in and settles into your corners and cobwebs. Long after reading it, I kept thinking of the windows in Moscow and their springtime opening, the unsealing of winter layers to let the fresh air in, finally.

Penelope Fitzgerald weaves a fine, elegant tale, as always, masterfully setting a scene with just a few brushstrokes. It is March 1913 in the city and Frank Reid’s wife has left him, hopping on a train with destination unknown, leaving three kids behind. He is left to pick up the pieces, to solve the mystery of her sudden vanishing, hoping for a return. The minutiae of Russian life during this era are skillfully constructed, with plenty of samovars, birch trees, and wintry scenes to make you feel fully transported. And the timing of it all, Russia on the brink of war and revolution, injects the book with an underlying haunted, electric energy.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Beginning of Spring is among Andrew Taylor's five best historical novels.

--Marshal Zeringue