"They agreed that if anyone asked Anna why she had exchanged her habitual gown for this new, more sombre one, she would reply, quite honestly, that she had wished to enter a belated period of mourning for the death of her unborn child, and she had procured the garment from a trunk that had washed up on Hokitika spit."
I feel that I have achieved something in completing such a weighty tome as that of this year's Man Booker Prize winner. Darting around star signs and set in the 1800s in New Zealand this turned out to be the perfect holiday read. Admittedly it probably pushed my cabin baggage over the limit, but it meant I only needed one book for most of my week away.
Back to the novel now. It is a strange work that becomes easier to read as you progress. What is going on with the opium addicted prostitute and what is the story with the ship the Godspell? All will be revealed at a slow, lingering pace that resonates a certain charm. Like a boat trip from England to the colonies back in the day, this novel really takes its time.
I didn't dislike it, but I felt a little unmoved by it. I wonder whether it won on the basis that a young author could generate such a huge work that maintained a narrative thread and while it was not extraordinarily compelling, it was nevertheless sufficiently entertaining for me to complete the journey.
4 out of 5 corsets get sliced off with a knife around here.