Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron
Coral Glynn arrives at Hart House, an isolated manse in the English countryside, early in the very wet spring of 1950, to nurse the elderly Mrs. Hart, who is dying of cancer. Hart House is also inhabited by Mrs. Prence, the perpetually disgruntled housekeeper, and Major Clement Hart, Mrs. Hart’s war-ravaged son, who is struggling to come to terms with his latent homosexuality. When a child’s game goes violently awry in the woods surrounding Hart House, a great shadow—love, perhaps—descends upon its inhabitants. Like the misguided child’s play, other seemingly random events—a torn dress, a missing ring, a lost letter—propel Coral and Clement into the dark thicket of marriage.
A period novel observed through a refreshingly gimlet eye, Coral Glynn explores how quickly need and desire can blossom into love, and just as quickly transform into something less categorical. Borrowing from themes and characters prevalent in the work of mid-twentieth-century British women writers, Peter Cameron examines how we live and how we love—with his customary empathy and wit.
This is all Laura Miller’s fault, as many books are; a deliberate throwback to women’s writing of the 1950s (although what does it say that Cameron is comfortable co-opting that?), and a young woman faced with a terrible moral dilemma. What more could I ask for? Cameron is also quite popular for his young adult novel Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, so I’d like to get in touch with his writing.
Laura Miller, writing for Salon, enjoyed it, pointing out how well-crafted it is. Dominique Browning, writing for The New York Times, found it a beautiful exploration of pain. Maureen Corrigan, writing for NPR, thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Bharti Kitchner, writing for The Seattle Times, enjoyed it, but points out that the suspense tails off towards the end and that Coral can be inaccessible to the reader.
Coral Glynn was released on February 28, 2012.