An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful – J. David Simons

October 1, 2013 at 20:00 | Posted in books | 3 Comments
Tags: , , ,

simonscoverThis is the third novel by British writer J. David Simons, and is the story of Edward Strathairn, a writer born in Glasgow in the inter-war years who then spends time both in London and Japan. It is a reflection on the different cultures and attitudes across geography and time, as the book jumps between the evolving story of Edward’s life and the contemporary unfolding of the final months leading up to his death.

This switching between the present and the past is skilfully done, and the threads of the story weave together in a very satisfactory way. It is a kind of a love story, but one that explores two different types of love that Edward experiences – that for Macy, an American avant-garde artist he meets in London, and Sukimo, a Japanese hotel maid. The book also explores the various viewpoints and angles of a range of events and attitudes, and in a sense is a book about perception – how the same events can be viewed very differently depending on the background and context of the observer. The pivotal event is the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this traumatic event in world history is beautifully echoed throughout the book.

If that sounds rather daunting, then don’t be put off – it is a very readable book that is hard to put down. If I had a small criticism it would be that the character of Edward himself does not feel completely rounded, and there are moments in the book where his motivation does not seem to ring true; as if Simons needs to move the plot along but can’t weave events together quite convincingly enough.  This is really a minor point, however, which does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the novel. Definitely a recommended read.

About these ads

3 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. I hadn’t heard of this book or this author, but it sounds like they’re worth a read. Thanks!

  2. Many thanks for the considered review of my latest novel – I am glad that you enjoyed it. You are not the first person to query Edward’s motivation and the comment is duly noted should I ever do a rewrite. Your recommendation is greatly appreciated. Best wishes J. David Simons

    • Thanks so much for dropping by and for your gracious comments on my humble blog. Best wishes to you too – and I look forward to your next book!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. | The Pool Theme.
Entries and comments feeds.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 224 other followers

%d bloggers like this: