Ancestral TruthsPosted: 2009/04/23
Maitland, Sara. Ancestral Truths. New york: Henry Holt & Co., 1993.
To be quite honest I don’t know how this came into my hands. I’ve already read one book in honor of National Sibling Month. This was supposed to be on the list for next year, or maybe even the year after that. I wasn’t supposed to read two sib books in one month. But, suddenly there it was and after I picked it up I couldn’t put it down.
Ancestral Truths is a bizarre tale about a woman who starts a journey climbing a mountain in Zimbabwe with her lover and ends it with her alone with an amputated hand and the nagging doubt of murder in her heart. Reliving her days in Italy and on Mount Nyamgani while on holiday with her large family in Scotland, Clare Kerlake tries to figure everything out. Did she kill her boyfriend? Can she live without her right hand? She comes from a large family and they all have baggage so it’s no surprise when the plot gets a little preachy and over the top. Religion, feminism, mysticism and witchcraft all play a part in this novel. It gets heavy at times but well worth slogging through.
Favorite parts: “She was an amputee, a cripple, stared at discreetly and pitied; or completely ignore, invisible in the embarrassment of strangers” (p 10). “‘You named me,’ Joseph once said irritably, ‘not only after the only married male virgin in the Church’s calendar, but after the only bloke in history who would take his pregnant girlfriend on a trip without booking in advance'” (p 110). Last one, “Clare had been embarrassed, self-conscious in her laughter while Julia was free in hers” (p 286).
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called, “Brothers and Sisters” (p 47).