Monday, 20 February 2012
The other evening we were lying in bed reading our respective novels. I was contemplating what life must have been like for this poor woman, on a cold bleak island in the middle of nowhere (quite literally). What would it look like: the crags, the scrubby grassland, the lack of trees?
My husband is enjoying his book.
I return to the isolation of the minister's wife. She can't speak a word of Gaelic. Why doesn't her husband try to teach her a few simple words to let her communicate with the natives? Surely she would be more content if she had others to talk to; someone other than her husband, who is solely focussed on his mission to save the islanders' souls?
I give my husband a look. He straightens his face and returns to reading.
My heroine is pregnant... and now she chooses to go for a walk up the hill. Her husband doesn't think this is safe. Can he be right? I read on, anticipating the worst. She slips, she falls, she...
The bed shakes with my husband's laughter. "Sorry," he says, but can't hold the laughter in as he returns to his book.
For me, I read of inevitable loss, of the husband taking control in a tragic situation, of him naming and disposing of the baby before she wakes up. I read of the woman's meek submission to her husband's will.
I give up reading. Sometimes you have to recognise you aren't going to win.
(I'll let you know how good the book is if I am ever given the space to finish it!)