Happy weekend. Rumour has it the cold is going to start biting, which makes it the perfect time to curl up with one of these reads…Not new but new-to-me is My Brilliant Friend by Elene Ferrente, the first in her Neopolitan novel cycle. A friend sent this to me when I was recuperating from my recent operation, and it was perfect escapism. I trod the hot, dusty streets of a poor neighbourhood in Naples; felt the sun on my face and the bond between childhood friends Elena and Lila (and their ambition to escape their beginnings, by whatever means). I have added the rest of the novels to my Christmas list.
I also finally finished Liza Klassman’s dazzlingly accomplished Villa America. I confess: I started this, fell in love with it and then put it down because it is almost too poignant to bear (and because it is that cliche: so good you don’t want it to end. I actually envy those who haven’t read it.) Based on the marriage of Sara and Gerald Murphy (the inspiration for Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night), it is in equal parts seductive, radiant and tragic. (Do also try Mrs Hemingway and Careless People if this appeals.) Bonus points for the Riviera setting and incidental interiors inspiration from Sara.
And then I read a book which surprised me, because it strikes a very different note from her oeuvre, The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern. I devoured it over the course of two days – snatched moments on the tube, in bed after an evening of work. Unbeknownst to his family, Fergus is a marble-playing genius and collector. He is also in a home recovering from a stroke and is, quite simply (complicatedly) lost. His daughter, Sabrina is also lost. And when she chances across the secret of her father’s past, is presented with the opportunity to discover not only who he really is – but who she is.
(Incidentally, if you’re a fan of Cecelia’s and David One Day, Us Nicholls, and in London on 25th November, please do come on over to the v fabulous Conde Nast College in Soho, where GLAMOUR is hosting a Bookclub event with the authors, hosted by me and Helen (my colleague and the brilliant friend and literary fiend who sent me Ferrente’s book). They’ll be cocktails, canapes, a chance to shop Hush’s AW collection (with advice from our gorgeous fashion editors) and one heck of a goody bag. Basically, everything you need to hole up for winter in one sparkling evening. Tickets available here. And come and say hi!)
Image via The Nordic House, where you can buy these heavenly-looking rugs