Monday, June 2, 2008
This book tried to be deeper than it was. It's theme of "one small decision can change the future for generations" isn't the mind boggling concept the literary world thinks it is. Of course our decisions change the future. Duh.
The author, Penelope Lively, attempts to connect three generations of women, grandmother to granddaughter, through art. The art mentioned was significant to Lorna, a woman raised in a pre World War II upper middle class family, because she chose a completely different life than her parents by marrying an artist and choosing to live a simple, old fashioned way of life in a humble cottage in the country. Matt and Lorna's are simplistically happy, in spite of their poverty, until Matt is tragically killed in the war, leaving behind a young daughter, Molly. While Matt's pieces of work become quite valuable later on and periodically appear in the lives of his daughter and granddaughter, the appearances seem to be nothing more than a prop gimmick and not as consequential to the life decisions Molly and Molly's daughter, Ruth, as Lively leads her readers to think. These "twists of fate" she often produced for her characters instead seemed to me to be much more likely the result of their unorthodox childhoods.
Consequences is a decent book with very good descriptive writing, but even that doesn't make up for its weak plot. Individually, the women's stories were interesting and had some great development, but the overall effect of including all three in one story produces a rushed and thin result.