I loved this book! Towles previous novel, "A Gentleman in Moscow" was one of my top favorites so I was eager to read this one as well. Towles' storytelling is mesmerizing and his writing is brilliant. He not only writes beautifully and descriptively but he brings his characters alive in such a way that you really know them. The story in "The Lincoln Highway" is not complex but it is compelling. You can't help but become personally invested in the plight of the characters. I easily give this a five star rating. My only complaint is that after reading such a good book, my next read is destined to be a letdown...
Well, well, well. Not such a letdown after all. I can't even say why I chose this book but I am so glad I did. Two five star books in a row is unheard of but here we have it! I have never read anything by Edith Wharton before and this was new territory for me. To be more accurate, I listened to this novel on Audible. The narrator, Eleanor Bron, was masterful in her reading and spoke in that perfect east coast aristocracy that was familiar to the ear earlier in the 20th century. This is a tragic tale about a woman born into high society but left penniless by her father at his death. She must keep up a certain standard of living in the only circles and lifestyle she knows however, it becomes more and more difficult as time goes by given her lack of money. Wharton's familiarity with society during this time period is personal, from what I understand. Gossip, elitism, old money, new money, and women whose only goal is to marry well are the driving force behind this tale. Wharton's writing is of the time period and beautifully done. It makes me a little sad that all of this beautiful language and grammar has gone by the wayside.
I am currently listening to, "Swann's Way, Remembrance of Things Past" by Marcel Proust. This is the first of seven volumes of Proust's memories of his childhood in high society France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is elaborate and rich in detail. While the detail may bore some readers, I find the depth of memory from this author astounding. I doubt Proust was aware of the historical journey he would be providing to 21st century readers simply by telling of his childhood. He recalls in detail the little Madeleine cakes he would be given dipped in tea. In his heavenly description of their flavor, I find myself wanting one and wondering where can I get a Madeleine and even if I could procure one, would it would taste the same as Proust's French baked cake of the 19th century? He also has me pondering high society parenting in that time period which seems a little harsh to me today and leaves me shaking my head in wonderment. Yet, here we have a literary genius which leads me to think perhaps not coddling children, as they did back then, built strength and character. Oh well, so far I am enjoying the journey on which this book has taken me. *Amazingly, I was at Sam's club on Saturday morning and I saw Madeleine's on the baked goods table! I read the label and they were made in California. I would have bought three or four but a box of twenty-five was too many.
Another amazing book that I am currently reading is, "The Angel and the Assassin" by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. This is a scientific piece that explores tiny cells in our brains called Microglia. First discovered in the early 2000's, these little cells play a huge role in the immune function of our brain. Scientists once thought our brain was separate and excluded from our body's immune system but recent research has proven otherwise. Anyone who struggles with auto-immune diseases, mood disorders, Alzheimers, and an array of other health issues may want to explore this book further. A doctor recommended it to me after I mentioned the brain sluggishness and other health issues that followed my contracting Covid last year. This is a fascinating book, although I have no idea where it is leading as I am only one third of the way through. I really hope it has positive leads and a good ending, of sorts.