Thursday, October 21, 2010


It began, as it often does, with a woman putting her ducks in a row. It had occurred to Iris a few weeks back--at the height of summer when tourists jammed the post office with their oiled bodies and their scattered, childish vacation glee--that if what she thought were going to happen was going to, she ought to be prepared. She ought, really oughtn't she, to be ready to show Harry that though she was forty, as old as the century, he would be the first. The very first. And she had always put more stock in words set down on a clean white piece of paper than any sort of talk. Talk was...

The Postmistress
Sarah Blake

(I think this was from the book fly-leaf)
Blake traces the lives of three women in the months leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II. One is the titular postmistress, one is a newly married doctor’s wife, and one is a radio reporter covering the Blitz under the tutelage of Edward R. Murrow. Can you doubt that the paths of these three are going to intertwine in life-changing ways? If so, you’ve never read a historical novel.

The Postmistress examines the question of truth-telling in wartime, and the fact that we can never learn the whole story, as the reporter takes her recorder on trains across Europe, interviewing the last wave of Jewish refugees trying to get out before the exits slam shut. The vitality inherent in that vocal record, fragmentary though it of necessity is, is the most resonant part of the novel.

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