Two books came in on the same day… part two.
Cleaning Nabokov’s House by Leslie Daniels Barb has left her controlling husband. Now she’s stranded in upstate New York in a town where everyone knows and loves her experson and could care less about her. She’s lost custody of her children. She’s jobless and homeless and holding on to sanity with a very tenuous grip. This could be the beginning of a serious work of Women’s Fiction, the kind that Oprah would want to talk about and which would require boxes of tissues. Instead, Barb’s journey to pulling her life together and getting her children back is hilarious. It’s still women’s fiction, just not the depressing kind. Barb’s first step towards getting her footing back is selling her reliable car (keeping the unreliable one) to make a down payment on a small house which turns out to have belonged to Nabokov. In this house, wedged behind a drawer, she finds a manuscript which might or might not have been written by Nabokov. Her efforts to get this published start pushing her back towards sanity, making her friends in the process. She also comes up with a scheme to make enough money to win her children back, a scheme that I totally did not see coming and which gives the book both its silliest and most serious moments, a scheme to make more of the women of the small town where she now lives happy. It’s sexy without being explicit, and Barb’s feelings run true even as the plot runs towards the unbelievable comedic. It made for excellent hospital reading for me, as we were once again stuck there, but I’m hoping that you, dear reader, can enjoy it under more pleasant circumstances.