First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
A woman invites a famous artist to use her guesthouse in the remote coastal landscape where she lives with her family. Powerfully drawn to his paintings, she believes his vision might penetrate the mystery at the center of her life. Bust as a long, dry summer sets in, his provocative presence itself becomes an enigma – and disrupts the calm of her secluded household.
Second Place, Rachel Cusk’s electrifying new novel, is a study of female fate and male privilege, the geometries of human relationships, and the moral questions that animate our lives. It reminds us of art’s capacity to uplift – and to destroy.
Happy Friday everyone! Happy first Friday of 2022! Another busy workweek has come to a close, thankfully. Cheers to fellow accountant for surviving yet another year-end closing. The past weeks have been frantic, with both the holiday cheer and the commencement of the busy season converging. It may seem early to celebrate for audit season is just over the horizon but hey, let us celebrate small victories. It is now time to recoup and regroup for the busy season ahead. More than that, I hope 2022 will be a great year for everyone, that it will be a year brimming with hope, healing, and recovery. I hope that we all achieve everything that we have set out to achieve this year. I hope and pray that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. I hope that the pandemic ends soon so that we can meet each other without the fear of the virus looming.
Fridays also mean a First Impression Friday update. Despite the flurry of activities in the past days, I managed to have a great start to my 2022 reading journey. After Sara Nisha Adams’ The Reading List, and Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds, I am already on my third book for the year! I have certainly regained the reading momentum, a reversal of the reading slump I experienced towards the end of 2021. I guess I was too focused on completing my 2021 reading challenges that I had to eventually slowdown. Nevertheless, I have already covered a substantial amount of reading ground.
My third book for the year is Rachel Cusk’s Second Place. Prior to 2021, I have never heard of Rachel Cusk nor have I encountered any of her works. It was through the 2021 Booker Prize that I first came across her as her latest novel, Second Place was longlisted for the prestigious literary award. Unfortunately, it failed to make the shortlist but its longlisting was enough to pique my interest. Actually, Second Place is my eleventh novel from the longlist; the last two books I have yet to acquire are Mary Lawson’s A Town Called Solace, and Karen Jennings’ An Island.
I just started reading Second Place but it is a rather quick read. I am done with three chapters already. At the heart of the story is the female narrator M who seems to be addressing the story to a man named Jeffers. M was recounting her story about a chance encounter with a man named L. The opening line went, “I once told you, Jeffers, about the time I met the devil on a train leaving Paris, and about how after that meeting the evil that usually lies undisturbed beneath the surface of things rose up and disgorged itself over every part of life.” Now that is a very intriguing opening line. I immediately knew I was in for a treat. Perhaps this develops into an affair? L, from what I understand, is a painter and it was his works that has drawn in M. What mystifies me is Jeffers’ real identity for his, or maybe her, voice was muted so far.
A simple Google search informed me that Second Place was inspired by Mabel Dodge Luhan’s 1932 memoir Lorenzo in Taos. The memoir was about English writer D.H. Lawrence’s sojourn in Taos, New Mexico. I have read Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover back in 2020. It was a controversial work that it was even the subject of litigation post the author’s death. D.H. Lawrence seems to have lived an equally controversial life. Learning more about his escapades (?) through Second Place will perhaps help me gain a better perspective about him. However, what piques my interest is the book’s title. Why Second Place? Who or what occupies the first place?
I will be having my answer over the weekend for the book is rather thin; I expected a heftier book actually. Nevertheless, I am excited to learn how the story pans out. How about you fellow reader? What book do you have on your hand right now? How are you enjoying it so far? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, have a great weekend ahead! And as always, happy reading! Happy new year!