I’m sure I should have read Rumors of Water already, but I haven’t. I met LL Barkat by reading The Novelist. Now I know that I must next read Rumors of Water.
The Novelist sent my mind on a trip through memories of the various self-portraits I have seen. Whether in oils or photographs the self-portraits created by artists always manage to hide as much as they display and leave the viewer with questions to mull. Barkat accomplishes the same thing in The Novelist. Ostensibly, the story is about a woman challenged to write her first novel and do it quickly. I dare you just to try to guess how it all turns out.
Barkat is many things, and in this book she turns out to be a novelist. However, her blend of poetry, tea and china leads the reader on a sometimes not so merry chase through life and literature. Almost everyone who ever thought of being a writer thought first of writing novels, and most first novels simply amount to the trash that must be dumped before the writer discovers what she will actually write. The Novelist is not headed for anybody’s trash dump.
I won’t try to tell you what the book is about. Every reader must figure out that puzzle for himself. I will tell you that you won’t find a list of the “Five Books Every New Writer Needs,” although you may find yourself chasing down a number of books on writing after you read this book. Don’t expect me to classify this book, either. I welcome anyone’s comments on that matter after reading the book.
I will tell you that The Novelist is not to be missed. Pure art. Unique poetry. Bleeding edge self-examination. Memories bitter and sweet brushed on with a light touch and deft imagination. All stirred together with vignettes and snippets of Tale of Genji. I could not put it down. Yet I kept putting it down in order to absorb and savor the writing. The Novelist belongs at the top of your “to read” list.
I received an advance copy of this book for the purpose of review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This review is my opinion after reading the book.