Life is more mystery than misery

(or at least, that's what I like to think)

Mr. Chartwell

Mr. Chartwell is the debut novel of Rebecca Hunt, a fine arts graduate who lives and works in London. First published by Fig Tree in 2010 and then picked up by Penguin, this novel set in July, 1964, combines a serious subject like depression and tries to give it a comical or humorous touch by personifying it as man sized black talking dog who tries to seduce the main characters into the darkness: Winston Churchill and Esther Hammerhans.

As Churchill is facing his retirement as a Member of the Parliament at the House of Commons, Esther Hammerhans, a library clerk at the same place, struggles to find love and overcome the death of his beloved husband two years ago. Both of them receive this weird visitor, who first introduces himself as Mr. Chartwell but later on changes his name to Black Pat. While Churchill has known him for a long time, Esther discovers who Mr. Chartwell is when she has already accepted to rent him a room at her house, and it will take a coincidental meeting with Churchill to give Esther the courage to fight him and evade what could have a become a long relationship with the black dog.

Hunt alternates Churchill’s and Hammerhans stories in short chapters that precede one another and finally mix up at the end, when they both find themselves stuck in a room with Black Pat and discover that both acknowledge his presence, which leads to the end of the story by Hammerhans overcoming him.

Although the author presents an interesting approach by personalizing depression as a character (a dog who speaks and acts as a person but has animal urges and needs) and using an historical character as Curchill, the story varies in intensity and becomes kind of boring or repetitive sometimes, once we have seen and understood how Black Pat works on both characters. There is a lack, from my point of view, of a subplot to enliven the novel. While it may seem that this could be Esther’s pursue of love with Corkbowl, then this story lacks the strength to maintain the reader’s interest, but most of all,  ends up converging with the main plot as well (will Black Pat win over Esther or push Churchill to a point of no return?), leaving a sketchy and vague sensation on the reader.

On the other hand, Hunt has created a quite charming main story, which combines humor, intelligence and a happy ending, so in spite of its ups and downs, I consider it a pretty good choice for these autumn afternoons with rain outside and the warm comfort of an interesting reading at home.

For more info on this book or to purchase it click here.

Laia Vilaseca

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on October 19, 2011 by in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , .

About

I love words when rightfully used. I think literature make us better. I love writing and reading and this is all this blog is about, since I thought it would be a cool way to share. I really hope you enjoy it!

Follow on Bloglovin

What would you like to read about..?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 34 other followers

@LaiaVilaseca

Blogs I Follow

glòria fort _ studio

il·lustració, disseny i manualitats

La màquina de fer llibres

Blog intermitent sobre traducció de literatura al català

consumpropi.wordpress.com/

"Necessitem desesperadament que ens contin històries; tant com el menjar, perquè ens ajuden a organitzar la realitat i il·luminen el caos de les nostres vides" [Paul Auster]

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.

ennegre

Blog de l'associació En Negre dedicada a la defensa i promoció de la novel·la negra en català

El blog de NEGRA Y CRIMINAL

Las noticias de actualidad de la librería más negra de la Barceloneta.

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Life Out of the Box

Buy a product, help a person in need + see your impact.

mackleonardfilms

Just another WordPress.com site

tyjameshenson

I'm not Ryan Gosling :(

craigslistjoe

a documentary film blog.

+ in the roost +

projects, decor, & a new baby

topiclessbar

This is my life. Laugh at it.

Irish woman

Hope you enjoy...........

seewhatshemeans

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: