Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard
|Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard
|Category: Women's Fiction
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
|Summary: A haunting, poetic, and sometimes tragic story with a hopeful conclusion.
|Date: June 2005
|External links: Author's website
Rose is a textile artist who suffers with depressive illness. She has moved to the small Scottish island of Uist, to come to terms with her past and redevelop some of her artistry after a painful and upsetting end to a long-term relationship. She has a daughter, Megan, who she writes to regularly, emphasising the positive aspects of her life and downplaying her ongoing depression and struggles.
Rose gets to know her nearest neighbour, Shona, in the small community where she lives, and meets Shona's rather attractive brother Calum. Calum is a teacher - a very good one - and also a poet. And his poetry, which is sometimes dark and deeply moving, resonates strongly with Rose, inspiring her to new and related textile creations.
I found the style of this book rather confusing at first. While Rose is the main viewpoint character throughout, the narrative switches frequently between first person and third person. Then there are several brief forays into the past, unmarked by any standard method of indicating flashbacks. However, I got used to this and found I barely noticed it in the latter part of the book. In a way the mixing of styles shows Rose's confusion about herself, and the way she controls her bipolar disorder with medication - albeit not as strong as recommended by her doctor.
There's an inevitable love story; Rose and Calum are attracted to each other immediately. But both have demons from the past, waiting to strangle any new relationship as soon as it begins. Rose's previous lover, Gavin, seems to be haunting her; Calum too has a painful history which is gradually revealed. Emotional Geology is the title of a book of poetry which Calum has had published; it also reflects the way that Rose and Calum enable each other to go digging gently into their respective pasts, learning to forgive themselves, and accept the gifts of the present.
There's a surprising amount of four-letter language which rather made me wince at times; less would probably have had a better effect. But the love scenes are subtly done, and the eventual resolution encouraging. It's a disturbing book in some ways, with descriptions of violence... and yet they're not over-done or gory. Just sufficient to give an image that may stay with me for some time, but without unpleasant detail.
Well worth reading, in my opinion. Many thanks to Linda Gillard for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard at Amazon.com.
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