Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen is this month’s book club pick for Towne Book Center and Cafe book club. it’s my first time reading anything by Quindlen. I know she’s a prolific author and her autobiography is popular. As I’m not a fan of non-fiction, especially biographies, I was glad to hear that this was fiction.
Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.
Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.
Now I don’t know about you, but this blurb doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t tell me much about the book and what the point of it is. Sadly, after reading it (it’s a light quick read if that’s what you need) the book doesn’t tell you much about what the point of the story is either.
So Rebecca is a rich divorced socialite in NYC. She takes a cottage in the woods to do some soul searching I guess, and perhaps to take more of the photos that have made her famous. Along the way she ingratiates herself into the small town near the cottage. She’s a big deal and the folks kinda grow on her.
Meanwhile, Rebecca is sandwiched between her adult son and her elderly parents. There’s little emotion in any of the story and the stuff that’s really good, like everyone’s back story, gets the short shrift and your left with tidbits of information about why everyone is who they are. I’m not even sure about Rebecca and why she is the way she is. I guess I’m supposed to feel sorry for her because she’s single and has to support herself but I find myself not caring; mostly because she’s subletting her fabulous apartment in New York and doesn’t want to sell it. If you’re that hard up for money, honey, sell it!!
The narrative is disjointed at times and I can’t tell who is speaking or what she’s speaking about. Anyway, the end wraps up nicely. Too nicely, actually and she ends up being ok. Drink a bottle of wine with this book and it’s a great filler or even a light summer read: not too heavy.
Have you read any of Quindlen’s other books? What did you think?