.KINDLE ♰ The Queen of the Tambourine ☩ eBooks or Kindle ePUB free

Eliza Peabody is, it seems, a woman who is disintegrating Through a series of letters written to Joan, a neighbour who appears to have run away to Bangladesh and makes no reply, she describes the breakdown of her marriage and her mental health It is not always clear how reliable she is, but much is clarified towards the end of the book There are many flashes of humour but my predomninant feeling was one of great sadness Her life appears to be overshadowed by tragedy and it is only as the novel draws to a close that we begin to understand why that might be Wonderful writing A beautiful novel. This is a novel of a woman in crisis, but, and it s a big but, it s difficult to identify exactly what the crisis is Her life, her marriage, her neighborhood, all appear to be disintegrating before her eyes, behind her back and in her mind So she writes letters Welcome to the world of Eliza Peabody And what a world it is Full of pathos, farce and very funny vignettes Don t miss this chance to experience someone else s crisis rather than live your own.Highly recommended and just what I needed on this dreary, rainy day. There is no way in hell I can write a fair review of this novel I adore Jane Gardam I am a FAN I am totally prejudiced She is one of the best writers on the planet That said, this is 4 stars, not quite 5 Say 4.8 stars.Gardam may be best enjoyed by people who are no longer young Her insights are continuous but tempered She has enormous sympathy for the wounds that life inflicts but without an ounce of unbecoming sweetness Gardam remains clear eyed, observant and sane She has a perspective that only time allows The protagonist here, Eliza, is complex and thoroughly real, even when the events become unreal Massively lonely, she nonetheless tries to create a self that is whole, well informed, helpful and participating in life She fails at it She writes letters to a former neighbor that, eventually, she realizes will never be returned and probably never received, but she must write, must try to have a presence in someone s life She explains her life even as it tilts She needs to matter to someone else even if that person becomes a fiction, a pretense She needs a venue for her own point of view which her daily life does not allow Her husband leaves her, which is a tipping point than the reason that reality slips away Gardam first shows us the that Eliza s world believes that her contributions are wrong and inappropriate Her neighbors and acquaintances distance themselves from her strong and inaccurate opinions They rightly see her as lacking perception as to what the social graces are She is odd and wrong Unable to fit in, and lonely beyond bearing, reality becomes tilted The slippery seas of her mind disorient the reader just as Eliza is disoriented Then slowly, nearly accidentally, Eliza the crazy woman becomes a truer self, the insanity a road back to connection, perceptive about things that matter Magically, Gardam redeems her character without losing faith with the essence It is so well done that, as you believe in the madness, you can believe in the redemption She is finally seen by her neighbors, recognized as a person and as having value As she is mad, she cares less about returning to the real world until she slips back into sanity, finds a shore where she can rest and live There is nothing I can say that does justice to the balance, skill, and insights of Jane Gardam Aside from her intellectual and emotional maturity, she controls plot, page and language superbly She is a master.So why not the full five stars During the completely mad pages, I lost my way for a little while I suspect it was my failing, unable to let go of my own sanity enough to ride the wave with Eliza It may be the reason some readers will fault the book But it is so close to exactly right, it is a very small complaint. How can a book be hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time In Jane Gardam s hands, this epistolary novel never takes a pot shot at anyone without good cause , but becomes increasingly specific, focusing especially on how women of a certain age manage their falling apart lives All kinds of lives are looked at those who left those who stayed those who worked those who did not There is a distressing yet comforting sense of being a victim at a disaster, being looked after by those very same women of a certain age, all of whom have seen your life and others far worse their own, perhaps and who are willing to wrap their experience and compassion about one like a newly sewn quilt, beautiful and awesome, and sometimes painful to behold.Why painful Because of all the work, mistakes, choices, energy that goes into making a quilt Sometimes it s a success, sometimes it isn t But sometimes we won t know this until it is done This book is also like a quilt, in that set pieces are created, and we laugh with jollity at the cleverness of the creation When, finally, the time comes to stitch the pieces together, the whole suddenly becomes something else altogether and we stand mute at the meaning and magnificence of what Gardam has managed to do.Our narrator, Eliza Peabody, begins to write letters to Joan, the woman living down the street Eliza does not know Joan very well, but has come to have opinions about her, and feels it quite within her area of expertise to offer advice on her marriage, on her state of wellness, on her husband She begins broadly, with two paragraphs one February, signing it Eliza Peabody and progresses, with increasing familiarity, through Your sincere friend, and Your affectionate friend, to E, and finally, dropping the signature altogether The letters become much longer and intimate Joan, meanwhile, leaves the country and never responds to Eliza over the years of the correspondence What we learn about Eliza, then, is all there is She is generous, thankfully, for it is her perceptions that guide us through the lives of her neighbors, her husband s infidelities, her own housekeeping failures She makes us laugh, cry, and beg for mercy She makes me realize that Jane Gardam should be a household name and celebrated widely throughout the world She is a national treasure. A modern epistolary novelI think that s how you say it Eliza Peabody, opinionated, rich and confident writes a well meaning if insensitive letter to one of her neighbours and from then on her life with all its clear boundaries and comfortable middle class interests begins to disintegrate Everything we see, everything we hear is through the eyes and ears of this, initially, maddening woman Gardam challenges us as the book goes on to try to understand what is reality, what is imagination and what is misunderstanding A large number of characters traipse past her some clearly drawn and believable then others but then perhaps that is the point of the book Is Eliza seeing clearly Is there a conspiracy of silence on the part of her neighbours or a patient attempt at understanding her weird decay There was some really amusing dialogue reported by Eliza and some lovely gentle opening out of relationships Some surreal incidents and one heart stopping moment on a lake serve to keep the reader unsettled until the very end of the book where a resolution of a sort leaves you satisfied but not surfeited I enjoyed it and would have no problem in recommending it A fascinating book, told entirely in letters from the protagonist to a woman who had been a neighbour But is Eliza sane, and how reliable a narrator is she Jane Gardam is a wonderful writer, and I could hardly bear to put this book down because I wanted to work out just what was going on, and I cared about the various characters. .KINDLE ♲ The Queen of the Tambourine ⚆ An Alternative Cover For This ISBN Can Be Found HereEliza Believes She Could Never Hurt Anybody Her Beauty, Her Religion, Her Concern For Friends And Neighbours Give Her She Thinks An Oracular Power Then, Mysteriously, The Newcomer Across The Road Disappears, And No One Will Tell Eliza Why A strong 4 stars Difficult to describe without saying than you want to know before you enter this book Every review I read told me something that felt a bit too much, but it s hard to avoid with this book It s a revelatory tapestry of a story If you know Gardam, it s enough to say she doesn t disappoint A story about a 50 year old woman writing to a woman she barely knew and possibly had a bit of a hand in running out of the neighborhood and country It isn t a correspondence, but a one sided story unfolding, always of questionable perspective and veracity An unfolding of self awareness and revelatory personal history with a touch of mystery An examination of relationship, loneliness, and the dimensions of necessity of other people in our lives It is also about a number of other subjects and themes Looking at some other reviews makes me think it s a Rorschach test of a book, because, Gardam like, she evokes something particular in every reader A superb, mildly disorienting without being off putting, read that leans well into 5 stars. Every now and then I have a craving to read something that is beautifully crafted, a book that is all lovely words I heard about Jane Gardam on NPR I had never heard of her she s a British author and she has won the Whitbread Award TWICE Nobody else has done that, so this author I had never heard of ought to be good, I thought And she is The book is all letters written by Eliza to her neighbor Joan, who never responds to the letters Eliza is witty, intelligent, weirdly insightful about her neighbors but something is very, very wrong and her neighbors though often overwhelmed by their own problems are strangely concerned about Eliza Because we come to see that Eliza is going crazy, and she has secrets she cannot tell, even to Joan If Joan exists.Here s a bit I liked, where Eliza is being examined by a doctor whom she calls The Son of Dreariness he is asking about her female problems And how old are you, Mrs Peabody I m fifty one Ah, fifty one Menopause going all right Everything drying up nicely I had a hysterectomy at thirty one That s the scar Ah, long gone, long gone Now I do congratulate you Well done, well done.For getting rid of the good old nursery furniture, my dear Best removed when no longer needed What a perfectly horrible thing to say What a foul phrase What Ha I was thirty one Then I added, Fuck you You tell em, Eliza. Oh the delight of a rollicking good novel This funny and poignant story by Jane Gardam is a terrific read She proves herself to be a versatile writer Unlike the emotional restraint of the eponymous character in Old Filth, our heroine in The Queen of the Tambourine seems to have no emotional filters at all The book starts out breathtakingly manic as Joan writes a highly familiar and opinionated letter to her neighbor, who, it turns out, she doesn t really know at all The novel progresses, letter by letter, as Joan gradually writes less advice about her neighbor s life and about her own circumstances The writing is exquisitely humorous in the dry, British sort of way Here, for example, she describes golfers in their yellow jerseys, like wandering bananas And here she says, He is, I know, not somebody who shows his feelings easily Or even at all I adored this character and how she evolved through the novel Other than a highly disturbing incident with a baby infant, which Gardam writes of in a disconcertingly matter of fact way, this book deserves every star it can get