Reading Kate Morton

Kate Morton’s one of my favourite novelists. Her latest novel, Homecoming, had been on my TBR pile for a while. I’ve really lost myself in the worlds of two of her earlier novels, The Forgotten Garden and The Clockmaker’s Daughter. This new one, Homecoming, however, was not quite as compelling. The pace seemed plodding, the characters and POVs too confusing, and the convoluted plot line more irritating than intriguing.  What saved it was the writing!

I love Kate Morton’s writing. Her novels evoke mood through a neglected natural setting. Besides nature gone wild, there are the inevitable neglected homes in her stories ... revealing complicated pasts. I’m reminded of the ruins of East Prussia inside modern Kaliningrad.  Here in Canada, ruins are sparse. If we have any ruins, they're soon razed for new development or burned by homeless people keeping warm. 

Besides nature and history, Morton’s ardent love of books and old things infuses her work. She braids mystery, nature and human frailty into compelling narratives. 

Here are some of my favourite lines from Homecoming

About story:

 “…the first and firmest human addiction is to narrative.” (p. 116)

About walking:

“…to walk was to think, to think was to breathe, to breathe was to stay alive.” (p. 193)

About home:

“Home, she’d realized, wasn’t a place or a time or a person, though it could be any and all of those things: home was a feeling, a sense of being complete.” (p. 543)

About time:

“…a sense of timelessness, of nature, older and more pervasive than anything human beings and their histories could generate, grew thick and warm around them.”  (p.544)

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