Quote of the Day


The Singing Fire by Lillian Nattel

Last week I read The Singing Fire: A Novel by Lillian Nattel. I had very much enjoyed her first novel, The River Midnight but this one didn't grab me.

Set in the Yiddish ghetto of Victorian London, the novel traces the lives of two immigrant women, both victims of oppressive male dominance, sometimes in the form of a friendship-feigning pimp, sometimes in the form of a cruel step-father, or the usurious tutor. Children are conceived, miscarried, abandoned, claimed and cherished. One woman escapes the ghetto into a cold marriage, one escapes a cold marriage, but not the ghetto.

Nattel carefully draws the setting and details it richly. I may have read too much Anne Perry to fully appreciate the care with which Nattel presents Victorian-era poverty. Or perhaps I am weary of the 'most men are bad' theme. Nattel is a good author and I am disposed to like her work, this one just didn't do it for me.

Have you read it? What do you think?

:: a year ago: summer 2007
:: two years ago:
no cavities!


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