Reading: Susanna Moore's The Life Of Objects

I was a quiet girl, by all accounts, conversation considered an unnecessary luxury by my parents. I heard no family tales or instructive anecdotes, my head filled instead with the stories of willful heroines, vivacious of temperament unlike myself, with whom I shared a longing for the world and its imagined pleasures.
— Susanna Moore, The Life Of Objects

Susanna Moore's The Life Of Objects found its way into my possession simply thanks to its cover design. Browsing a secondhand bookstore in Berlin (Saint George's Books in Prenzlauer Berg), I couldn't help but pick it up and, upon discovering the praises by the likes of Joan Didion and Tracy K. Smith on the back, it was a given that I would add it to my ever-growing collection of books 'to read'.

Set it 1938, the book tells the story of seventeen-year-old Beatrice, an Irish Protestant, who struggles with the constraints of her simple life as a shop girl at her father's haberdashery. That is until she teaches herself to make lace. As her lace works become more elaborate and notorious, she is suddenly whisked away to the wealthy household of the Metzenburg family in Berlin. Art collectors and socializers, they introduce Beatrice to a life of privilege. But history takes its course and soon the conflicts of the Nazi Regime reach the Metzenburg household. Escaping to their country estate, they struggle to preserve the traditions of the old world.

I really enjoyed reading this story. Witnessed through the eyes of modest Beatrice, the reader learns of day-to-day life in Nazi Germany, the tragedy of war, as well as the horrors of living under the oppression of Soviet rule – all told in restrained, and therefore even more heart wrenching, prose. Susanna Moore is an incredibly talented writer and I look forward to delving into some of her other novels.

If you're interested in Susanna Moore, I found this interview on Bomb Magazine really informative and interesting.

Lilly Wolf