As I was preparing for a program of book talks to be presented at a public library branch this past Saturday, I came upon a review by Michael Dirda in the Washington Post. The book under review was The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers, a novel I love and have taken every available opportunity to recommend to people. I now remember that it was Dirda’s piece that alerted me to this book in the first place; I had not previously heard of it, nor of its author.
I deeply appreciate the beauty and incisiveness of Dirda’s writing. Here is a link to the review on Amazon:
Referring back to an earlier work by Vickers, Dirda notes “…that Henry Jamesian sense of a missed life — of what might have been — suffuses The Other Side of You and reminds us that Vickers is a novelist in the great English tradition of moral seriousness. Her characters suffer, they struggle to be true to both themselves and the promptings of the human heart, and they eventually accept that a quiet accommodation to one’s lot may be the most that any of us can hope for. Yet sometimes, during even the most seemingly drab existence, a moment or a memory of real unclouded happiness may be unexpectedly snatched from the maw of time.”
As I have said before (in a previous post on this blog), maybe they should build a statue to a critic!
[Recent books by Michael Dirda are Book by Book: notes on reading and life (2006), and Bound To Please: an Extraordinary one-volume literary education: essays on great writers and their books (2005).]
I have posted my own review of The Other Side of You .