This was another Cannonball read gift from crystalclear, and I’m just now getting around to it. I’m winding down the “read books on my shelf” project slowly but surely, and I’ve been enjoying the process. I had heard of Moon Tiger while working on my doctoral comps, and I’ve been wanting to read it since then. I am sad that I did not read this during my Women’s Literature course, as I think it’s an excellent example of what makes women writers distinctive or even how we interrogate “women writers” as a genre or subgenre of text. Forgive me if I’m boring you, but as an academic, I found this book exciting and fascinating.
Moon Tiger is the biography of Claudia Hampton, a popular history writer who is lying dying in a British hospital. The book goes over her life, from her childhood made rich and boisterous by her brother and intellectual partner, her many adventures seeking out subject matter, her disastrous relationship with her daughter’s father, and, of course, the secret love affair that marks her life’s richest and most tragic chapter.
This is a rich accounting of a woman’s life, livelihood, and interior life. I felt strands of Carol Shields’ The Stone Diaries, Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, and Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. If you like writing about writing or historical fiction with a focus on the author and the construction of text, then you will probably enjoy this book like I did, maybe even as much as I did. I can definitely see why this won the Man Booker Prize in 1987. And I believe that it deserved the prize—something I cannot always say about the winners.
Cross-posted to my blog.