Peripheral Vision – Patricia Ferguson

The BookDepository

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to take a chance on lesser known books and I’m really pleased to report that my first venture into the unknown was a massive success. I decided to read Peripheral Vision after seeing a post on the Fiction Uncovered website in which Amanda Craig highlighted some undervalued authors. She described Patricia Ferguson’s novels as dark and dazzling – exactly the sort of books I love!

I chose to read Peripheral Vision because it is primarily about motherhood. Through the eyes of three different women we see how the relationship between a mother and child can be both powerful and fragile.

The writing is amazingly clear and a high degree of emotional intensity is built up in a very short period of time.

The first few pages read like a piece of quality chick lit, but this book quickly becomes more than that – the writing has a depth of both character and theme. The cover image implies that this is quite a light book, but there are a few disturbing scenes so I don’t advise reading this if you are squeamish!

The book begins as a series of short stories, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they all linked up in the end. This plot isn’t packed with action, but the power of the relationships was enough to grip me completely.

It seems to her that all maternal love degrades naturally, as the perfect baby becomes the imperfect adult; that such natural fading, from adoration to gentle mutual fondness, is normal.

The theme of vision also runs through the book and I especially loved the details of ophthalmic surgery – I felt as though I was being educated as well as entertained.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in books about motherhood, especially if you appreciate quality writing.

 

Have you read anything written by Patricia Ferguson?


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17 Comments

  1. FleurFisher says:

    Thank you for the link. I love several of the authors mentioned by Amanda Craig – Liz Jensen, Clare Chambers, and Julie Myerson – so if she brackets Patricia Ferguson with them and you recommend this book I clearly must investigate.

    I suspect that you will be adding to my TBR list considerably this year.

    1. Jackie says:

      FleurFisher, I haven’t read any of the other authors that she mentions yet, but do own a copy of Louis Drax by Liz Jenson. I have high hopes for it and will also be investigating the other authors mentioned by Amanda Craig – she seems to have very good taste :-)

  2. Karen says:

    I haven’t heard of this book, or the author, before but you make it sound incredibly enticing! I’m off to see if my library has a copy…

    1. Jackie says:

      Karen, I hope that you manage to get hold of a copy and enjoy it as much as I did.

  3. Beth F says:

    Sounds like a great way to start the year.

    1. Jackie says:

      2011 looks as though it is going to be a fantastic year! I hope it is for you too.

  4. Laura says:

    I’m glad one of your resolutions paid off for you! This book sounds interesting.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I think you’d really enjoy this book – it is one of those rare ones with appeal to both of us :-)

      1. Amdi says:

        Trish yes, Garden Spells. And The Sugar Queen (that’s the one with the magical books. and ttoelis. and deoderant. and electricity.).Sal how about Europe? I didn’t even mention all the travel books I love.Debb thanks for the info!Alyce yep, two thumbs up and worth a try. chartroose why didn’t I think of that world?? I am so there with you.bethany I got you to read about vampires, so you never know! Although I’m not much of a science fiction fan.Anne I’ve never read any Alice Munro something else to add to the list!bluestocking eeeeewwwwwwwwwww!!!!

  5. Patty says:

    I have not but…I am checking her out now… I love finding out about first time authors…look at Suzanne Daniel and Kathleen Grissom…The Kitchen House and Stiltsville…both were wondrous…

    1. Jackie says:

      Patty, I haven’t read any books by the authors you mention. *heads off to check them out*

  6. Mystica says:

    The excerpt alone sounds so down to earth that I would love to read this book. Thank you for the post.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mystica, Yes. The whole book is very realistic. It also explains some very uncomfortable truths – things most mothers never admit to feeling. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did if you decide to read it.

  7. Lisa says:

    Ooh, yes, I’ve read it and I really liked it! I’m glad you posted this, as it reminds me to seek out more of her stuff.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lisa, It is great to know that I’m not the only fan of her work. Let’s hope all her other books are as good as this one. :-)

  8. Amanda Craig says:

    Hello Jackie, Pat Ferguson just got in touch having seen this post – so glad if my recommendations (for which I got some stick in the Observer recently) have inspired some of you try try the authors I mentioned. Thanks for your kind comments too! It’s blogs and readers like yours who make it worth slogging on.

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, Thank you for the wonderful author recommendations :-) I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been getting some stick for it – I won’t be listening to the whingers as I know I can trust you. I hope I enjoy your other suggestions as much as this one :-)

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