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Marina Endicott

Författare till Good to a Fault

9+ verk 857 medlemmar 76 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta

Verk av Marina Endicott

Good to a Fault (2008) 466 exemplar
The Little Shadows (2011) 170 exemplar
Close to Hugh (2015) 42 exemplar
Open Arms (2001) 30 exemplar
The Difference (2019) 30 exemplar
New Year's Eve (Good Reads) (2011) 20 exemplar
The Observer (2023) 14 exemplar
Difference, The 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home (2014) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor22 exemplar

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The Little Shadows are three sisters working as touring vaudeville singers in early 20th century North America. The Avery family, and their mother, are still mourning the death of their father and a little brother, but they must try and earn a living.

This is perhaps the least glamorous theatre story I've ever read. As young girls/women, Aurora, Clover and Bella must be seen to observe proprieties, but this is a world of exploitative and predatory men.

Endicott very effectively creates and conveys a sense of historical setting and the way her main characters might have thought about things, and the dilemmas facing them. The book is rather long, and I felt that the story and character development could have been done as well in a shorter book.

I received a review copy of this book through the Amazon Vine programme.

(Amazon review posted 14.08.12)
… (mer)
 
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elkiedee | 18 andra recensioner | Nov 16, 2023 |
Apparently set in the 1990s, this novel offers a glimpse into the life of the partner of an RCMP constable. It focuses on Julia Carey, a former dramaturge who moves from Saskatchewan with her significant—taciturn—other, Hardy, to Medway, a town north of Edmonton in rural Alberta. Previously a sports journalist, Hardy has recently undergone training with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We’re told his father had been a member of the force, but it’s not at all clear why Hardy, an older recruit, decided to make such a drastic career change.

When the couple first move to Medway, they quickly learn of a young constable’s suicide a few years before. Then, not too far into Hardy’s posting, a fellow he trained with at the Academy in Regina comes to stay with him and Julia for a two-week stress leave. Soon enough it becomes evident that police work is taking a toll on Hardy as well. He becomes, “opaque, exhausted, often impatient, or just bleak in mind,” increasingly visited by “dark moods and irritability,” and eventually incapacitated by PTSD. The novel is a first-person account of Julia’s perceptions and experiences.

During her early days in Medway, Julia fills in for a month at The Observer, the town’s local paper, when Catherine, its editor, takes her annual summer holiday. Julia herself will end up becoming the paper’s editor when Catherine moves on. However, the initial connection with the editor is a valuable one. Having lived in Medway her whole life, she has her finger on the pulse of the town and can fill the newcomer in on local happenings, criminal and otherwise. This is the only way Julia is able to learn about the difficult cases tight-lipped Hardy has been working on—cases that are obviously causing him significant distress and marked changes in behaviour. When her stint at the paper is up, Julia is briefly employed as a substitute teacher at the local high school. Lacking certification, she’s paid a pittance for emotionally draining work. Nevertheless, it offers her further insight into the community. Not long after that, having reconciled herself to infertility, she’s surprised to learn she’s pregnant. Hardy’s response to the news is not the anticipated joyous one. His only remark: He won’t be able to quit his job. No, he won’t, and it costs all of them, as the novel will show.

Overall, THE OBSERVER is a meandering and modest book. It is replete with mundane details of rural and domestic life (barbecues and get-togethers and the names of everyone in attendance) as well as plentiful gossipy information about the lives of locals (including the young widow of the constable who committed suicide, a beekeeper, and Johnny Mair, a volatile and often violent drunk, who is perpetually in trouble with the law). The novel has a very large cast of characters, most only superficially sketched. It’s hard to keep their identities straight. There’s also an overabundance of insignificant events reported on in consistently pedestrian prose. Rather than be given carte blanche to itemize seemingly every single happening, the author should have been taken in hand by her editor and advised to describe only the few most telling incidents.

In the end, I can’t recommend this novel. To me it read like an uninspired memoir or a tidied-up, emotionally flat personal journal—significant for the writer, maybe, but much less so for the reader. I was mostly very, very bored. I made it to the end, but just barely. To be clear: the book isn’t terrible. It’s accessible, and it does offer insight into what life is like for the wives and partners of first responders. The problem is that the whole thing just goes on far too long. Less would really have been so much more.
… (mer)
 
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fountainoverflows | 2 andra recensioner | Nov 16, 2023 |
This novel depicts the struggles of RCMP officers and their partners in small rural communities.

The setting is the 1990s in a fictional small town in northern Alberta. Julia, the narrator, is a playwright and dramaturge who pauses her career to move with her partner Hardy to Medway where he has his first posting. She takes a part-time position as editor of the local weekly newspaper, a job which helps her to learn about the community.

Life is not easy for either Hardy or Julia. Hardy works long hours and is often exhausted physically and emotionally by what he witnesses on a regular basis: “He was having a hard time in the mill of stress and exhaustion and heartsickness that overtakes any thoughtful person who does police work.” Unwilling and unable to talk with Julia, Hardy suffers in silence: “talking was a double problem for Hardy: a problem of security and of privacy, a problem both legal and spiritual. Nothing he did at work could ever be told, for security reasons but also out of decency.” The stress and daily exposure to “venal, pointless crime, the waste of intelligence and youth and substance,” and violence and death take a mental toll, resulting in a “weariness of mind and soul.”

Julia struggles as well. Initially she has no job so feels adrift. As an outsider, she has difficulty learning about the customs of a rural community: “There were a lot of rules that I did not yet know or understand. In the two months we’d been here, over and over I had leaped to a conclusion only to discover that I’d been wrong or misinformed, or prejudiced by my earlier urban life.” She does meet other RCMP wives but “all the other wives seemed to accept and naturally understand the natural flow of this life that was so foreign to me.” At RCMP social gatherings, she finds “So many people to catalogue and remember, so much hierarchy to understand.” Though some women do step forward to help her, Julia finds that she “had to pick things up by osmosis, or by stealth.” The newspaper job helps her to meet people and make connections within the community.

Besides feeling lonely because she is an outsider, she also feels lonely because she is virtually abandoned by Hardy who is often not home because of work. Hardy’s silence about work when he is home only adds to Julia’s worry because her imagination goes wild as she thinks of all the terrible things that could happen to him. Then there’s the almost constant fearful waiting for Hardy to come home unharmed. Hardy’s description of their “’living in one long emergency’” is so apt. And then there’s Julia’s sense of powerlessness; she sees her husband struggling with the stresses of his job, but doesn’t know what she can do to help him; she is only aware of her “inability to affect anything or be of help, no matter what got thrown. I prayed all the time, insufficiently, for Hardy.” She fears that, like a former officer in the town, Hardy might commit suicide.

The novel is slow paced, but there is a lot of tension. Readers who remember the Mayerthorpe incident will be aware of the dangers of life for people in law enforcement. I was always wondering what was going to happen to Hardy. Would he be harmed or killed at work? Would he get the help he needs for his PTSD? Would Julia and Hardy’s relationship survive?

Though the book is generally serious, there are touches of humour. Having grown up in a small town, I smiled at Julia’s learning that being told not to bring anything to a social gathering meant “a square might be nice.” And I loved Jerome, an enormous bison named “’after that giraffe puppet who sticks his head into the house on TV.’”
Julia comments, “I kept seeing things that made me revise my former opinions about police, opinions formed by my repugnance for the idea of police authority in general, and by my fear and ignorance.” This novel, based on the experiences of the author and her RCMP husband, may revise some people’s opinions about police, especially when there are calls to defund the police. Julia tries being a substitute teacher and concludes, “Teaching high school is the worst job in the world, and those who do it are not paid nearly enough.” As a former high school teacher, I appreciate that sentiment, but the book shows that policing may be the worst job in the world.

Because of its honest depiction of the realities of life for rural police and their partners, this book is a necessary read.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DCYakabuski).
… (mer)
 
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Schatje | 2 andra recensioner | Nov 13, 2023 |
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

This is a novel, but it reads like a memoir - it is very much a case of 'this happened, then this happened, then it looked as if this would happen, but it didn't, then this person left and then this person joined' and so on and so on. It was I suppose an affectionate look at life in small town Alberta and especially being the partner of an RCMP officer there. However, as we learnt over and over again, the narrator's partner was really strict about not revealing things about his work to her, so it was a lot less interesting than it might have been.

I was slightly bored throughout.
… (mer)
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pgchuis | 2 andra recensioner | Sep 6, 2023 |

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