Friday, October 14, 2011

An Equal Stillness

Author: Francesca Kay

The novel from Francesca about the life of a painter set in the mid of 20th century is a striking debut. It traces the life of Jennet Mallow in varied roles of an artist, a woman, a wife and a mother.

Jennet, a quite, enigmatic girl who is sent to London to start her painting career, falls in love with a talented painter David Heaton after a casual one night between them. Compelled into marrying her, David’s life is the exact opposite of Jennet, though they remain married to each other, over a sense of convenience and duty if not love.

Francesca has weaved a complex portrayal out of each of the characters in her novel with David, the most handsome, confident of his genius, disregard for his wife’s talent in contrast with Jennet’s soul searching, dutiful yet resolute passion for painting. Jennet’s mother Lorna’s ache for her hometown and her patron’s Leonard’s mystical adulation over her are a sample of the author’s potential!

The story is brought about as a biography written by a person close to Jennet, and there’s a surprising twist at the end when the narrator is revealed. Each of Jennet’s paintings comes vibrantly alive in the words of Francesca, that you feel this book is a catalogue of an artist in language instead of pictures.

A winner of the Orange award for new writers, which is truly deserved, “An equal stillness” is an enjoyable read portraying the subtleties of human nature.

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