Monday, 23 May 2011
Joanna (Lisa St.Aubin De Teran) 429
What a fantastic read Joanna turned out to be - it was a Virago that I knew nothing about before reading (which was probably why I ordered it online), and it was the next book out of my box. It's nice to be surprised by a book.
The novel is a tryptich of tales - the Joanna of the title, her mother Kitty, and her grandmother Florence, and their stories are all brought together at the end. Joanna spends most of her childhood attending convent schools and dealing with her mother who considers her to be an abomination (which is why she is sent away so often); unsurprisingly she rebels which seems to turn her mother even further against her. Finally, in what can only be described as a psychotic episode, her mother attacks her and she leaves home. Trying to find her place in the world is difficult, it is the war, and she becomes a nurse, marries, but her husband is called up and the relationship quickly breaks down. As we then follow the livesof Kitty and Florence, Joanna's story begins to make a bit more sense, but it is not until the very final chapter, when we return to Joanna, visiting her mother in an asylum that it all begins to make sense.
An absolutely gripping family drama.
It has quite an un-Virago like cover - almost a cross between a "green" edition, and a modern edition. The spine is green (except on my copy which is so badly faded that it is blue), but it has a little picture at the top of it.
*Edit* Interesting comment from Jane:
I could be wrong, but I think what happened with the cover was this - the book was a Virago original in the 1980s and became a VMC later, keeping the same cover. Does that make sense?