Wednesday, 13 March 2019

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

One of those books which gently washes away your expectations and impatience, drawing you into a strange and semi-familiar world of souls and stories. I confess, I started this, gave up and tried again. The prose is lyrical and the style almost magical realism or fable, and if it catches you in the right mood, you will fall into its pools.

Marvellous Ways lives in a caravan in Cornwall. She’s lived a long life and seen many extraordinary things. Her relationship to the world around her is fluid, making the reader wonder what is real and what is imaginary. Thoughts and speech sometimes blur into one another which feels entirely natural once you get used to the convention.

Francis Drake, back from the war, is looking for someone else when he encounters Marvellous Ways. A friendship and understanding develops between the two allowing an exceptional exchange.

Winman’s prose is the definition of mindfulness. She slows down, looks and really sees. Her imaginative language weaves itself into nature, so that the book feels like the movement of the water up the creek.

Not a book to rush, this is like a poem. Sit down, relax and let this writer work her magic.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: When God Was A Rabbit, Spilt Milk by Amanda Hodgkinson, or The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Avoid if you don’t like: Non-linear narratives, magical realism, relaxed pace

Ideal accompaniments: Sparkling water, crab cakes and whalesong

Genre: Literary fiction

Available on Amazon

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