Thursday, 26 January 2012

Charms for the easy life (Kaye Gibbons)

Charms for the easy life is the fourth Kaye Gibbons novel that I've read for this challenge and she's an author that I have enjoyed reading who I probably would not have picked up otherwise - the front of this novel compares her to a later Eudora Welty (another author I've read as a result of VVV) and I think that this is true through the way that she writes about women's lives in rural America.

Charms for the easy life follows the story of three generations of women, told by the grandaughter Margaret. It is a story without a strong male presence, neither Charlie Kate her grandmother or her mother Sophia is married any longer, although they have various romantic entanglements, and it is interesting to see a world depicted where women can very much try to make it on their own even though it is the 1930s and there are many obstacles in the way.

Charlie Kate is a "healing woman", with considerable skill, she is the person often summoned when neighbours and other people in the town suffer ill health much to the chagrin of the local doctor who does almost everything he can to impede her work even though it is almost immediately obvious to the reader that she does things better.

What is so striking about this book is the way that the women depend on each other and can cope without depending on men, which makes it an interesting companion read to some of my most recent VMC reading such as Gissing's The odd women.

It's been published just the once by Virago with a green spine but very ungreen cover!

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