You can find the first quarter here, and the second quarter here.
I have to admit, I think I'm a lazy reader. I've promised to work hard, and not fail as a reader with this novel. However, I don't like working hard! I like the writing in a book to be beautiful, smooth and flowing. Then, I can focus on the characters and the story and the issues. With Foal's Bread, the writing is clunky - that's the word I've used before, and will continue to do so. Last week, I explained that I think I've overcoming the clunkiness by reading slower. Reading slowly just frustrates me.
However, this week, with physical and conscious effort (which is why I am panting with exhaustion as I write this blog), I ignored the writing and focused on what I think Mears is trying to do. It really helped me to read some other reviews of this book, and to do some research into Mears herself. I can now appreciate the subtlely. Although the characters still irritate me, I can have more insight into why they are the way they are.
I can't feel a happy ending coming. If Noah somehow deals with her abuse issues and emotional distance, gets over her loneliness and jealously, and everyone lives happily-ever-after, I will be very disappointed.
The mother-in-law Minna continued to think that the sun shone out of her son's you-know-what. When he died, her bitterness and hatred towards Noah is palpable. She's isolating Noah, treating her like a working animal, or worse. She even says to Noah that it should have been Noah that died, not Roley.
Noah's behaviour is unforgivable, though. I understand what's driving her to drink, but I don't understand why she's taking out the anger and disappointment she feels for herself, on her daughter, who appears to be the only one left who loves her. It was also interesting how Mears barely mentioned Noah whilst Roley was deteriorating, bed-bound, and dying, except when she was suggesting getting some arsenic into him, or was forcing open his jaws to force feed him whilst he was trying to starve himself. Noah's cruelty is also getting worse, and she continues to tie her son up on a running rope, like a dog.
My favourite parts this quarter were:
- The 'irresistible glee of betrayal' that Ralda felt when dobbing Noah into Minna, was described as 'stalking in under her apron cord'.
- When Mr Cousins says to Minna 'love your own but respect everybody else's'.
- When Roley dies, to radio works for a couple of seconds even though the batteries are dead. Roley's dog is jumping up and down into the air, as if to greet him. And a ring of light ascending into the sky is seen by Lainey and Minna, and Lainey gets the feeling that her father is galloping on horse back.
- Getting George's pony into the truck by linking arms behind its rump. I remember having to do something similar whenever a horse wouldn't go into the float. A bit of pressure applied to its rump, by either linked arms or a rope, works a treat.
- Lainey referring to dressage with distain - 'circles and riding neat figures of eight on the flat'.
- Lainey taking off the spurs, and realising she doesn't have to be exactly like her mother.
- Lainey learning that the 'impossible becomes possible when the valley inside your belly lays itself open': what a beautiful concept.
- Noah's jealousy being described as a front hoof crack.
- All hope at One Tree is gone and symbolised through the cracking of the 'hope on, hope ever' plate.
Although I did some searching, I don't know what Wizard Lighting is. It seems like some kind of piped gas system.
Also, I'm not sure what Chalcey and Chalcedite means. Was it the name of the original family that bred this particular kind of horse or colour?
And what rhyme went Flackety-Flack?