This is one of the insidious dangers of owning an Amazon Kindle: I stumbled upon yet another book, and read half of it without realizing.
The Kindle’s ability to download a free sample chapter of almost any book in its library is akin to a free sample of anything in a restaurant. I can easily download half a dozen samples of books that interest me, and at least one will grab my interest.
So with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a wonderful book I’m now halfway through reading, after reading the first word earlier tonight. It’s a (fictional) set of letters between an author and a group of British country folk who lived on the island of Guernsey when it was occupied by the Germans during World War II. Besides teaching me that British Channel islands were occupied by Germans during WW2, the book is increasingly complex. It reveals more and more about the characters and the situation; living under German occupation forced all sorts of subtle and complex choices on these simple people.
And yet, it remains light-hearted and high-spirited. No mean feat considering its letters are (fictionally) sent just after the end of the war, when British food was still rationed and British subjects still walked past bombed-out buildings every day. And while the book can get serious and downright melancholy at time, that’s not the point, and the book knows it. The tone varies while remaining true.
Which is why I found myself reading the book for two hours tonight, heedless of the time going by. I certainly hope it ends well.