Monday, 16 April 2012
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
This review is going to be tricky to write because Gillespie and I is one of those books where the less you know the better and knowing too much would completely ruin the reading experience. It starts in London in 1933 where elderly spinster Harriet Baxter is writing a memoir about the artist Ned Gillespie, who she met during Glasgow's Great Exhibition of 1888. Subsequently she became close to the whole Gillespie family as they went through a traumatic and scandalous time.
And that's all I'm going to say! Harris completely fooled me as I thought this book was going to be a cosy Victorian read but believe me, it's anything but. Harriet Baxter is one of the best examples of characterisation and unreliable narration I've come across in a long time. This is a book to make you question what you think you know about the characters and their motivations, to unsettle you. It's quite a large book but I was completely glued to it, could not put it down, desperate to see if my suspicions about Harriet were correct or not.
So you're all just going to have to trust me on this one as I don't want to spoil anyone's reading experience - this book is amazing. Go and grab a copy and get started!
First Published: 2011
Score: 5 out of 5
1. Notes On A Scandal by Zoe Heller - No similarity in plot but the narrators are quite alike. The story is about a female teacher having an affair with a pupil and relies on an older colleague for support.
2. Purge by Sofi Oksanen - Again, the similarity is with the main character and the way she is portrayed by the author. This one is a hard hitting story of sex trafficking and rape in rural Estonia.