A Tale of Two Cities
The Complete Short Stories
Fahrenheit 451
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Navigators of Dune
End of Watch
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
King Henry VI, Part 3
King Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 1
King Henry IV, Part Two
King Henry IV, Part 1
Richard II
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
The Rosie Effect
On the Nature of Things
So Anyway


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Living Underground

Living Underground
by Ruth Walker.
Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 288 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.39 in
Published: August 15, 2012
Seraphim Editions
Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 192707908X
ISBN - 13: 9781927079089

From the Publisher
A woman's lover from her youth resurfaces in her adult life, and she is drawn into the turmoil surrounding disturbing accusations about his Nazi past. From pre WWII Dresden, Germany to contemporary urban Toronto, the dual point of view narrative crosses continents and moves through time as it explores the ambiguity of human emotion, how our natures can embody both the ideals and delights of love alongside the most base and dispassionate sensibilities.

Smell The Book Review

8.5 out of 10.
Overall an excellent story and I would highly recommend this book.

I have been lucky enough to make friends with an agent at Westwood Creative Artists who occasionally passes on author contact info to me. This agent introduced me to Ruth Walker earlier this year and I was fortunate enough to read her book in advance of her coming to visit the Ottawa Book Club later this month (Oct 2013). Very much looking forward to meeting Ms. Walker as I have many questions about her book as do most other members of the Ottawa Book Club. Seraphim was also kind enough to send a copy of the book in advance of Ms. Walkers visit which I used as a draw prize for the book club at the last meeting. 

Living Underground is the first book from Ruth Walker but by no means is it the first thing she has written. A detailed list of her awards and accomplishments can be found here. An interview with Ruth Walker is pending but the finished page when done can be found here.

I did enjoy the questions posed by this novel. Can ANYONE be loved if you know their history and all of their secrets? Does the good a person performs in their life outweigh the bad? This seems not so much a story about memory and history as it is a story about love, denial and how we selectively pick and choose what we decide to remember or attribute to those we love. How much can you forgive? Some excellent questions and Ms. Walker's characters are sincere and honest in their responses. The people in her book are fleshed out wonderfully and I found myself really pulling for Sheila for which way I wanted her story to go. One line in particular resonated with me. The words of a parent (that could apply to any struggling mother OR father) when Shelia's mother tells her in a moment of clarity:

P175 - "You know, Shelia, sometimes mothers are not always right."

I also enjoyed the familiar references that are missing when I read most American authors. There are references that most Toronto natives would get to subways, streets, Casa Loma, Kitchener etc. but my favourite is the reference to that old Cottage Country road stop, Webers! I thought I was the only person in Canada that remembered that place and their history making burgers. It all just brought the story closer to home for me.

One question I'm going to ask Ms. Walker later this month is how much of a fan of Ian Flemming or James Bond is she? I counted at least 5 references scattered throughout the book to Bond or Moneypenny etc. I guess I noticed as I am a fan myself.

Anything I would change? At times I enjoyed the back and forth flashback transitions between the modern day and the past, but occasionally I had to re-read the start of a chapter as the change was unclear to me and I wanted to absorb it in the correct context. Apart from that, I really enjoy Ms. Walkers "voice" and her style of storytelling and would highly recommend her book.

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