January 4, 2019
The Knitting Circle
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
2007 W.W. Norton & Company
Finished on June 21, 2018
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
After the loss of her only child, Mary Baxter finds herself unable to read or write, the activities that used to be her primary source of comfort. She reluctantly joins a knitting circle as a way to fill her lonely days--not knowing it will change her life. As they teach Mary new knitting techniques, the women in the circle also reveal their own secrets of loss, love, and hope. With time, Mary is finally able to tell her own story of grief, and in so doing finds the spark of life again.
Last year I read The Book That Matters Most, (Ann Hood's latest novel centered around a book club and the power of the written word) and immediately wanted to read more of her books. The Knitting Circle has been on my radar for many years, so I decided it was high time to pull it off the shelf and give it a read. Over the years, I've been drawn to books about grief and Hood's novel, which is drawn on her own raw experience of losing a child, is powerful and poignant without feeling too saccharine or overly sentimental. As with The Book That Matters Most, I was quickly drawn into the story and didn't have any trouble keeping track of all the characters and their own burdens, which tends to be a problem with some of the "friendship" novels I've read in the past. I'm not a knitter, but I enjoyed reading the details about learning how to knit and all the various stitches and patterns involved in the craft.
I also enjoyed reading Hood's nonfiction book, Morningstar: Growing Up With Books (reviewed here) and am eager to read more of her books. The Obituary Writer and The Italian Wife are appealing, as is The Red Thread. I love discovering an author with a decent backlist on which to catch up. Ann Hood is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!
Is there anyone who can write about the connections of ordinary people better than Ann Hood? ~Jodi Picoult