Posts Tagged ‘second novel’

The Memory of Lost Senses – Judith Kinghorn

Posted in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction on April 29th, 2013 by admin – 2 Comments

The Memory of Lost Senses

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (23 May 2013)
  • Source: Amazon Vine
  • My Rating: 4 stars

Having enjoyed Judith Kinghorn’s debut novel The Last Summer I eagerly  anticipated her second novel The Memory of Lost Senses published by Headline on 23rd May.  Whilst it is quite different, structurally, from her first novel, it retains that intensity, that evocative heart which characterised her first novel.

It’s a novel about first love, sacrifice, intrigue and in particular the role of memory in shaping and refashioning our lives.  The mysterious Countess at the centre of our story seems to have undergone a variety of metamorphises in the course of her eventful life – the exoticism of an expatriate lifestyle in Paris and Rome seems at odds with her final resting place, a sleepy Hampshire village.  Does anyone know the real woman?  Her closest friend, the novelist Sylvia,  feels snubbed when young Cecily Chadwick is drawn into the Countess’ confidence but  the long hot summer of 1911 takes its toll on the elderly lady’s memory or does she just want to forget the murkier scenes of her past?

The narrative takes a while to get going but do persevere and you are in for a treat.  The author has a wonderful sense of place – from the small-town feel of Rome in the mid 19th century to the intensity of village life in rural Hampshire in 1911 where everyone knows everyone else’s business.  Countess Cora is a fascinating creature with so many anecdotes to tell that it is difficult to tell the difference between truth and fiction.  Sylvia seems so lacklustre in comparison but you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her!  Likewise, Cecily is not quite so demure as she first appears and her ambitions stretch way beyond the village boundaries. Yes, there are some male characters but the female of the species tends to dominate…

After a slightly shaky start, I was soon engrossed in the lives of these Edwardian ladies, swept along by the ebb and flow of Cora’s memories.  A very thoughtful, evocative story which would make a marvellous film as would its predecessor.

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