Tuesday, 15 November 2011

String Bridge by Jessica Bell

A Book Review and An Interview Part 2

As promised, fellow bloggers, I'm back with Jessica Bell again.  I've got 3 more questions answered by the lovely Jessica! (Thanks again, Jess!).  But before that, let me tell you about her book, String Bridge and why I like it.

Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage--and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits ...

Why I like it:

Definitely gripping.  It might be a cliche to say it's 'unputdownable' but there isn't any other way to describe it.  Just amazing.

With a storyline so consuming, it felt like being in some sort of a trance reading this book.  I couldn't stop.  It felt like being on a rollercoaster of emotions.  Just when you think Melody is going to make a long-time dream come true, just when everything is all coming together - piece by piece...BANG!  Everything shatters.  How does Melody put all the pieces back together again?  Where does she go?  What is in store for her?

Intense writing.  Outstanding dialogue.  Impressive metaphors.  Jessica Bell writes beautifully.  String Bridge is a powerful novel.

One of my favourite parts (my ARC copy is full of markings!):

"I just want my mother's hugs.  I need soothing maternal hugs without having to explain why.  And even though the hugs are in the form of a gentle voice through a phone, I can still imagine these hugs - the reassuring scent of henna and coconut moisturizer - her smooth skin against my cheek as she kisses and breathes me in."  - Page 164

Before I can reveal too much, I guess I must stop here.  But let me tell you.  This is definitely a MUST-READ.

and below is the rest of the interview. Hope you all enjoy it like I did!

A Chat with Author Jessica Bell, Part Two:
The One where she talked about having children!

Len:  In String Bridge, Melody has a daughter...do you see yourself being a mother yourself in the near future?  Do you dream of having children? 

Jessica:  Oh yes, definitely. I love kids. But I'm really not sure I'm ready, to be honest. My "career" has just started to kick off, and I'm a bit worried about putting myself into Melody's shoes! lol But you know what? I'm not getting any younger, so I think I might just have to bite the bullet. Soon.

Len:  There's a lot of humourous lines/parts in String Bridge that really made me chuckle.  For example on page 165, you wrote:  "Oh, how I'd love to squash someone's head between two trashcan lids.  I could make music at the same time.  Become a member of Stomp."

I think this is hilarious.  Did they naturally come as you wrote the first draft?

Jessica:  Nope. Usually that stuff comes in much later. These things are like extra touches. The icing on the cake, sort of thing.

Len:  On page 213, you wrote (as Melody):  "Somewhere up there is us, a happy us, in some parallel universe, living the way we're supposed to be.  I truly believe that the earth is our practice ground - the place where we are to test things out, to make mistakes, to discover what we believe in, what we are passionate about.  Death is when we move on and go up there - to the real world; to start again, to rectify our mistakes and live a happy and fulfilling existence.  There is no hell.  Earth is hell.  This is where we are allowed to sin.  Up there, is where we no longer want to."

I loved this part.  It is very deep.  I had to stop and think after reading this part...and then I read each word again, slowly, making every word feel like tiny morsels of food in my mouth, savouring them.

Which makes me ask this question:  do you personally believe this?  Do you believe in the life after death?

Jessica:  Firstly can I just say, that what I love about reading is savoring phrases.  When I find things like this, I underline them and mark the page on the inside of the cover.  When I find things I want to underline, the book becomes a prized possession and will never leave my bookshelf, not even into borrowing hands.  That said, I am SO THRILLED, you felt like this about something in MY book!!!  Did you know that that is the only thing I have ever wanted from my readers?  This is the most exciting moment, I have to tell you.  This is what I wanted.  I wanted people to savor my words.  So thank you so much, Len, thank you for savoring them!!!

In answer to your question, yes, I believe this.  I am not a follower of any particular religion, and I don't believe in "God" the way many do.  But I do believe there is something greater than us out there.  And I believe there is so much more than what we experience here.  I truly think the earth is our playground where we grow, learn, pick up our own shit.  But I don't believe that our transitions happen chronologically.  I believe it's possible we have already moved on in some other time frame.  I believe we are whatever and wherever we imagine ourselves to be.

Jessica, thank you once again. It's such a pleasure to have you on my blog.  

Congratulations on being on the Bestselling List on Amazon!!!! 


Disclaimer:  I received an ARC of the book above from the publisher for an honest review and I was not compensated for this review.


Cortney Pearson said...

This is on my TBR pile, I actually saw another person's review on it and she also loved it! I'm happy to hear even more good about it.

Kittie Howard said...

Great interview. Really enjoyed how you worked passages in. Like Jess, "String Bridge," is a treasure.

Theresa Milstein said...

Len, thanks for sharing that snippet from the ARC. I've never felt that way about my mother, but boy do I love to breathe in my kids when I hug them.

Jessica, you have been busy lately. I hope your career continues to go UP.

Len Lambert said...

@ Cortney - It won't disappoint you, it's a really good book! :)

@ Kittie - thanks for visiting :)

@ Theresa - I had to delete my first reply to your comment as I got worried I gave too much away about Melody in this novel. This time I won't reveal too much...but just to say that there's a lot of things that I could relate to in this book and one of them is Melody's relationship with her mother. The snippet in the book about her mum resonated with me and I loved that bit. I love breathing in my son when I give him a hug as well :)

Old Kitty said...

Yay for Jessica - and Len - loved the passages you picked to highlight her gorgeous writing! Thank you Len and Jessica!! Take care x

Len Lambert said...

@Old Kitty - thank you. I will be right over to your blog as well. Hugs!

Jessica Bell said...

Thank you so much, Len, for having me! I'm still so excited you feel so passionate about the book. You've made my dream come true. And thanks everyone else for reading! :o)

Len Lambert said...

Hi, Jess! I've enjoyed reading String Bridge tremendously and I can't wait for your next book. It's an honour to have you on my blog :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Len and Jess .. great to read a little more of the book, and behind the scenes ... it is wonderful when we want to re-read sentences again from books - so Jess I can quite understand your feelings.as you've written them ..

Cheers .. Hilary