I finished reading Emotional Geology a few minutes ago & I am torn about this book. It is a brilliantly written account of a woman who is wrestling with mental illness & the impact that illness has had/does have on the people around her.
Linda Gillard has a wonderful writing style – very poetic (indeed, part of the book is written as poetry) & she made me feel as though I knew exactly where Rose was – like I could imagine her little fishing shack on the edge of the ocean & it’s doubtlessly beautiful surroundings. A lot of the book is dedicated to Rose’s memories of events long past, always involving the man who haunts her – Gavin, who was a climber. Rose, we learn, suffered from mental illness before Gavin became a part of her life, but it is because of Gavin that Rose has moved to the isolated Hebridean isle of North Uist, to try and live her life the only way she believes she can survive ~ alone. She lives in isolation to escape Gavin’s memory, to escape a past filled with hurt. Through the arrival of Rose’ s daughter we see just how self involved Rose is & learn that all things are not necessarily as they may seem, that maybe Rose doesn’t really have an accurate recollection of certain events in her past, because of her mental illness.
Not long after her arrival on North Uist Rose is drawn, almost prophetically, to Calum, a local school teacher & they embark on several “journeys” together – metaphorical & physical & together they learn that they have far more in common than either of them realised & than is perhaps safe for either of their mental stabilities.
Emotional Geology came to me via a book ring from the Book Club Forum & it took me a lot longer to read this book than it should have done. It was a great book, but I think because of the place I am in right now, with my own bit of emotional geology, I found this very difficult to read. From what I can see from the checking I have done, this book has been marketed as a kind of grown-up chick lit, which really does do this book a dis-service. Yes, it is at it’s heart a love story, but it is also so much more than that! I think this book could speak to a much wider audience & is something that I would recommend for anyone to read – male or female & I believe that Ms. Gillard’s publishing house missed an opportunity when they decided to market this to a mainly female audience.