Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inside the Whale

Jennie Rooney
Chatto & Windus
London 2008

This is a sweet, sweet love story, told in alternating short chapters by Stevie (short for Stephanie) and Michael. Funny and sad

It begins on the first Sunday of September in 1939 when the war was announced. After she left school, Stevie spent four years chopping root vegetables in the canteen of the Sun Pat peanut factory.

I had wanted to be a teacher but found myself arranging pale cabbages on trays and chopping carrots into perfect cubes. They made me stand on a wooden box so that my elbows didn't disturb the other women.

War came, and Michael trained carrier pigeons for the Royal Corps of Signals in Cairo

The years roll by, and the alternating stories jump back and forth and on into old age.

This is Jennie Rooney's first novel, and she's published another book that I look forward to reading... The Opposite of Falling hasn't been released here yet, but soon I hope. Toby O'Hara and Ursula Bridgewater meet at Niagara Falls. One of the attractions is a red and blue striped hot air balloon offering rides over the rushing water. The balloon is a day job for Toby  ... his  night work is to continue to perfect his father's design for a flying machine.

Her metaphors are enchanting ... under the sea inside a whale and then up in the air in a hot air balloon. I probably won't wait for this to come in July ... next stop the Book Depository.