Monday, April 23, 2012

Pure by Andrew Miller

This is not so much a review as a brief rave about how brilliant and beautiful I think this book is. Pure is my favourite read this year so far. For me, it was one of those books that you wait and hope to come across, that makes you realise how incredible writing and language and books can be.

I have read some reviews that expressed slight criticism because Pure isn't really big on plot or narrative drive. For me, this didn't even factor. I was so immersed and intrigued in the world Andrew Miller created, and so taken in by his beautiful writing, that I kept returning to the book at every available moment.

There is simplicity here, but also gorgeous, breathtaking descriptions and reflections. Yes, the book does pretty much cover the methodical destruction of Les Innocents, but it is so fascinating. And without anything of great distinction actually happening, a palpable sense of dread and atmosphere builds and builds. This book is earthy but at the same time has a refined elegance. It is humane, with the large and small fallibilities and fancies of people laid out effortlessly on the page. It has a lovely optimism while still retaining an authentic feeling of despair and disillusion.

The historical detail, the philosophy, is there, but it is all mixed into a much greater idea that concerns the workings of the human soul. The ordinary is made beautiful and alive.

This is literary writing at its loveliest. I thought Pure was dazzling and I was utterly enchanted by it.

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