Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend by Robert James Waller

Elizabeth Berg

Since my last Timothy Findley book, Famous Last Words, I have taken respite in a few  ‘quick reads’.  One was a disappointment.  Generally, I enjoy Elizabeth Berg’s writing, especially following challenging books.  The plots are somewhat predictable, but these sorts of stories have their place in my process.  Among my favourite Berg novels, was The Art of Mending.  While the letters shared between wartime sisters and soldiers was initially compelling, in Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, I thought that the ending was a flop.  As is typical with book reviews, not everyone agrees with me here.  I read an Elisabeth Berg interview where she defends the ending, but certainly, it did not strike me in the same way.

Anita Shreve

The second recent  ‘quick read’ that I DO recommend was Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water.  I enjoyed it so much that I added Shreve to my I READ THIS list.

Robert James Waller

Today, I read the third, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, while my daughter went through an epic dental experience.  I poured over the book, written by Bridges of Madison County-author, Robert James Waller and felt exhausted, but grateful, for such poignant words and such true-to-life characters.

Anita Shreve: The Last Time They Met

I first read Anita Shreve’s work when I picked up Light on Snow.  I would characterize Shreve’s writing as my ‘light’ reading.  Once I’ve finished an expository ‘read’, something historical or biographical, 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I like to sit back and take something in that is really narrative. I have enjoyed several of her books, for just this purpose.  Still, Shreve’s writing leaves me wondering about the characters and themes of human intrinsic struggle.  I like them for that.

Last night, I finished the book, The Last Time They Met,  an exploration, I think, of how a single moment can hold such power in a complete life story.  I think that it can be said that there are a number of pivotal moments throughout each person’s life that create reactions, leading ultimately to particular consequences/results.  The ending to this book is surprising and I am left this morning, still wondering about it.

The Weight of Water

The book of the week is Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water.  This is an earlier work than others I’ve read by the same author…The Pilot’s Wife written in 1998 and Light on Snow in 2004.  I absolutely loved her style of writing and the two other books kept me entertained on my first long-hauling journey.  Light on Snow is perhaps one of my favourites for the past decade….a beautiful read!
This one is ‘dark’ and the reader is swept into a feeling of mystery and fear.  Shreve is such a successful writer in that she develops such different settings and delves into the subtle aspects of character. This story of murder and distrust was written just after the O.J. Simpson trial was ending.
The Isles of Shoals, an archipelago, lie in the Atlantic, ten miles southeast off the New Hampshire coast at Portsmouth. The islands measure three and a half miles north and south by one and a half miles east and west. There are nine islands at high tide, eight at low; White and Seavey are connected. The largest island looked to its residents like a fat pig wallowing in the sea, and hence the name of Hog. Smuttynose, our destination, derived its name from a clump of seaweed on the nose of a rock extending into the ocean.”
The protagonist is a female photographer who is capturing images and reading chronicles from March 1873 when two women were murdered on the island of Smuttynose.  She is engaged in her own emotional struggles with her poet-husband all the while exploring the internal struggles of ‘people of another time’, especially Maren, through journals/archives that she has ‘borrowed’.
I’m looking forward to working my way through the complete list of Anita Shreve’s books….a compelling author!