27 March, 2014

Dreamers of the day by Mary Doria Russell [Ann - East Coast Bays Library]

This book was a serendipitous find while browsing the fiction shelves - chosen because the cover appealed to me.

The book's blurb reads: “Still reeling from the Great War and the Great Influenza of 1919, 40-year-old schoolteacher Agnes Shanklin has inherited just enough money to allow her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. There she meets T. E. Lawrence and Karl Weilbacher, the charming German spy who has shadowed Lawrence since his days as an archaeologist at Carchemich before the war.” 

The summary does not do justice to this beautifully written story. The author brings shapers of the modern Middle East vividly to life as Agnes finds herself falling in love while she and her little dog experience the mad bustle that is Cairo in the 1920s.

The author has skilfully turned great figures of history, including Winston Churchill, into real people (who knew T.E Lawrence was short? Peter O’Toole was tall!) with real human frailties and personalities. They are seen sometimes with humour, through the eyes of an ordinary woman finding herself in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time in modern history. I couldn’t put it down.

- Ann, East Coast Bays Library

Title: Dreamers of the day
Author: Mary Doria Russell
ISBN: 9781400064717 (Random House hbk.) 9780385614542 (trade) 0385614543(trade) 
Published: 2008 
Publisher: London: Doubleday

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