Monday, 19 October 2015

The Mistress of Nothing

I love this book!
I love the cover, I love the title, I love the concept.
I also love the setting, the characters, the language and the plot.
This is not my top favourite novel, but it is surely in the top ten.
It has everything that I enjoy in a novel.

  It is so rare to find a cover that reflects the themes in the book, but this cover does it well.  The woman on the cover, Sally, is a lady's maid in the 1800's.  She is taken for granted by her mistress who believes she can control Sally's life. 
 Sally does appear to be 'the mistress of nothing' and is the central character in this novel.  The country of Egypt is the setting and a market is also pictured on the cover.

"Letters from Egypt" by Lady Duff Gordon
  This fictional character of Sally is based on the real maid of Lady Lucie Duff Gordon, Sally Naldrett.  Sally did, in fact, travel down the Nile with her mistress, Lady Duff Gordon, in the 1800's. Lady Gordon had developed T.B. and decided to live on the Nile, so she needed a maid with her.
    The author got the idea of writing this book from reading Lady Duff Gordon's book of letters that she wrote home to England while living on the Nile.

Kate Pullinger
The author: 
Kate Pullinger was born in British Columbia but now lives in England. She teaches creative writing and has written several books.  I have read that she writes for film (she was involved in the novel "The Piano"), but she also writes for digital media.  I have no idea what that is- digital media- computer programs?  video games?
But this author is fascinating.  She was the lead writer on a project to write, edit and produce a novel in 24 hours.  Now, that sounds interesting and I understand that!

"The Mistress of Nothing" won the Governor General's award in 2009.
I will be leading a discussion of this book tonight and hope that the other readers enjoyed the book as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. Haven't heard of this one before. I may have to look this one up. (Did your group members love it, too?)