Friday, February 11, 2011

The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake

Not until the book ended did I realize how much I didn't like the book.  Blake makes the point several times that journalists rarely get to find out what happens after their story is published, both to the people that the story is about and the people who listen to the story on the radio.  The World War II journalist, Frankie Bard, is haunted by the stories that she knows the tragic ends of and the stories that she only knows bits of.  Ultimately she comes to the conclusion that life isn't stories.  The novel is crafted to mirror her frustration; the reader knows how some stories end, but has no clue how others will.  We are given a one year slice of life in a small Cape Cod town; not much before, nothing after, and not enough substance to make a guess at how things will turn out for the postmaster, Iris James, the widow and mother, Emma Fitch, and the former war correspondent, Frankie Bard. 

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