24 November 2009

Book Review: The Queen of the Tambourine

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The Queen of the Tambourine
Jane Gardam

Even though I read this book before I read The Year of the Flood, I wrote the review of TYOTF before this one, and I don’t appear to have much steam left.

Winner of the Whitbred Prize for Best Novel of the Year,  The Queen of the Tambourine is a funny and poignant book about Eliza Peabody, a housewife whose sense of reality isn’t what it should be. The entire book is written as a series of letters to her friend Joan. I don’t want to go into my love/hate relationship with epistolary novels again. Suffice it to say this one starts off very well in that regard, with each of the letters seeming very believable, but they eventually stray into pretty conventional narrative posing as letters.

I enjoyed this book, it was humorous and kind of satirical, but with the right amount of sentiment never far from center. Sympathetic and villainous characters, twists and turns, tension and resolution, etc. The whole nine yards as it were.

This is the kind of book that is good to pick up if you run across it somewhere. But, even though I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t necessarily tell someone to go hunt it down.


  1. I am a big Jane Gardam fan and will actually be posting about her tomorrow! This is one of the few that I haven't read yet.

  2. Despite my lackluster review, I think I am a Jane Gardam fan as well. I have Old Filth in my TBR.


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