Friday, December 05, 2014

Still Life With Bread Crumbs: A Novel by Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen is a bestselling author of seven novels and several nonfiction books, was a past New York Times columnist, and is a current columnist in Newsweek magazine. Still Life with Breadcrumbs is Quindlen's most current novel.

Rebecca Winter, the main character is a 60 year-old photographer who became famous unintentionally by taking photos of crumbs after a dinner party. The photos became known as the "Kitchen Counter Collection."  A failed marriage, a slumping career, and financial woes cause Rebecca to sublet her apartment in New York City and move to upstate New York into a cabin in the middle of nowhere that she found on the internet, which turns out to be a dump.  Rebecca takes photographs of arrangements of crosses that she finds scattered in the woods. After the photos have been exhibited Rebecca learns the meaning of the crosses. A touch of romance with a roofer, humor, relationships with people that Rebecca never would have met in New York City, and a renewed career lead to a very satisfying story.

The characters in Still Life with Bread Crumbs are very well developed and the observations of them are spot on. I didn't like the book at first, but it picked up in the second half. I have read some of Quindlen's other novels, but I enjoyed this book more because it is less political, has a happy ending, a love interest, AND a dog. (add a dog and you have won my heart!) I could identify with the theme of changing your life, starting all over, and finding your true self. I recommend Still Life with Bread Crumbs for middle-aged women and people who like a slower-paced read.  It would make an excellent Book Club selection.

For other books similar to Still Life With Bread Crumbs, try Life After Life by Jill McCorkle, Open House by Elizabeth Berg and The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman.

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