Raw Silk

Burroway, Janet. Raw Silk. Boston: Little , Brown & Company, 1976.

Suffice it to say, I devoured Raw Silk in four days. I probably would have finished it sooner if I didn’t have to take time out for essential things like eating, sleeping, and a little thing called going to work. I simply couldn’t put it down. Virginia Marbalestier is an American mother to a five year old, married to a Brit, and living in a big house outside of London. She has risen above her childhood of Californian poverty to become a successful textiles designer for a company where her domineering husband is second in command. She appears to have it all, but if anyone were to peep in their windows one would see an abusive relationship spiraling out of control. “Ginny” and husband, Oliver, fight constantly and the confusing thing is, not only does Ginny predict the abuse, she does nothing to avoid it. She welcomes it by deliberately differing and defying her husband on a regular basis. They fight over the welfare of their daughter and when Ginny gives in that is the first betrayal. The second is Frances. Oliver is all about appearances and when Ginny befriends Frances, a mentally unstable, nearly catatonic coworker, he seethes with anger. The angrier Oliver gets, the more “accidents” Ginny has. This downward spiral forces Ginny to examine her own life, her own betrayals, her own sacrifices.

Quotes I liked, “I want you to know I’ve finally got round to regretting what we missed” (p 33), “Do you know that I can still wake with the memory of your mouth?” (p 34), “I have no skill whatever at knowing what my sins are” (p 159), and “Very often I would like to take a plate of fried eggs and fling it full into the four-in-hand of Oliver’s miniature-motif embroidered tie, and this desire makes beads of sweat stand out along the hairline of my unbrushed hair, but even this is pleasurable” (p 164).

Reason read: Janet Burroway was born in the month of September.

Author fact: Ms. Burroway has her own website and the first thing I discovered when I went there is Raw Silk came out as an audio book for Open Road Media on February 4th, 2014.

Book trivia: Raw Silk was nominated for a National Book Award in 1977.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “The Writer’s Craft” (p 237).

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