Monday, January 18, 2010
The Inn at Lake Devine
Elinor Lipman is a fabulous find! I first heard about her and her book, The Inn at Lake Devine over at My Porch . Thomas listed it as one of his ten best books of the year and I was intrigued. It sounded like the perfect read for the holidays. I'm so glad I picked it up as it did turn out to be a delightful, hilarious and enjoyable book.
It's 1962 and the Marx family are keen to spend a holiday in Vermont. They write an inquiry letter to the Inn at Lake Devine and get a response that ends with "our guests who feel most comfortable here and return year after year are Gentiles." So begins, 12 year-old Natalie's life-long obsession with the Inn at Lake Devine which starts off with a few scathing yet funny anonymous letters and phone calls to Mrs.Berry, the inn keeper. A few years later she manages to wriggle an invitation to the inn from a summer camp friend, Robin Fife. A hilarious stay wtih the Fifes follows and ten years later she travels back to the inn for Robin's wedding. Anyway, I don't want to give too much of the plot away but suffice it to say that this was a truly delicious and easy read. Lipman does an excellent job of tackling the subject of anti-semitism in such a light-hearted and stylish way. She's been described as the modern-day Jane Austen but I think she's more like the modern-day Dorothy Whipple or Barbara Pym. She writes effortlessly and wonderfully. I'll definitely be picking up more of her novels. She's the type of writer I'll just purchase without even looking at the blurb at the back of the book. There's no need to because based on this book alone and her writing style I'm sure all her books are fun, fun, fun!