I noticed A Partisan’s Daughter at the Hoboken Library a few weeks ago, and remembered seeing it on a few “Best books of 2008 lists” as well as part of The Morning News Tournament of Books. It looked like a short, interesting book, so I checked it out.
The story’s narration is traded on and off between Chris, a lonely, middle aged man who is unhappy in his marriage, and Roza, a younger woman (and Yugoslavian emigrant) he first tries to pick up as a prostitute. They form a very unlikely friendship, Roza seems to crave the company and a willing ear to listen to her life stories and Chris moves toward obsession with her.
This novel has been likened to Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, and it does share a few common themes – missed chances and regrets stemming from characters not being completely honest with each other. However, I think A Partisan’s Daughter is much better. It’s a short novel, 193 pages, but by the end I was fully invested in the characters and chilled by the ending.
This is a book that mostly likely is better enjoyed the less you know going into it, so I don’t want to say a lot more. I’ll just end with two favorite lines from the book:
“There’s so much to find out. The question is, is it all worth knowing.”
“You don’t have to be mad to long for someone as much as I longed for her. I did what you do: I made her into my entire world, and she became the world in which I lived. I didn’t have any plans or hopes that didn’t have her in them.”
If you’re interested in reading the reviews of the book from The Tournament of Books, here’s the round one review, and here’s round two.
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