Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Maureen - Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is hands down one of my favorite authors. Why? Her books stay with me long after the last page has been turned. Her writing moves me, makes me laugh, cry and think. Maureen is another of those stories.

Maureen is the third book in the "Harold Fry" trilogy. If you've not read it yet, you need to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy before diving into this last book. And for those who have read the first two - take the time to read the author's notes at the beginning of the book. I loved the insight into the how and why of this last book in the triptych.

'Harold' tells the story of a man who decides to walk across England to deliver a card to his dying friend Queenie. The second book is from Queenie's point of view. And at last, we get to better know Harold's wife Maureen.

My thoughts on Maureen had been gleaned from her actions and thoughts as Harold walked. And my opinion was that I didn't like her. But I didn't know what was going on in her mind - and at last we do. She's been carrying her anger, guilt, remorse, sadness and yes, perhaps some little flicker of hope. She's now going to take her own pilgrimage, both figurative and literally. 

Joyce scatters so many truths in Maureen's travels and thoughts. I always find myself stopping to re-read a passage, savoring the the ideas and truths woven throughout the pages.  Here's a few...

"It struck Maureen that a person could be trapped in a version of themselves that was from another time, and completely miss the happiness that was staring them in the face."

"Once again, she experienced that old feeling of being the wrong shape for the situation in which she found herself. Of being an intruder."

Joyce's exploration of the human spirit is by turns heart breaking and life affirming. (Note - have a box of issues handy.)

Maureen is a novella that you'll read in a afternoon. But chances are, you'll be thinking of it after turning the last page. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Maureen

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