Rare Ob­jects

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE RIGHT READ -

Au­thor: Kath­leen Tes­saro Pub­lisher: Harper ISBN: 9780062357540

ES­CAP­ING North Bos­ton to New York City, Maeve Fan­ning was one of the am­bi­tious many who wanted to make it in the big city. Ex­cept, she didn’t.

Turns out, she wasn’t as uniquely tal­ented as she thought, and ended up in a “loony bin” af­ter a failed sui­cide at­tempt fol­low­ing a se­ries of mis­for­tunes.

Fan­ning even­tu­ally re­turns to na­tive Bos­ton to live with her mother, who is mostly ac­ri­mo­nious of her abil­ity as a skil­ful seam­stress and her pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with so­cial sta­tus.

Rare Ob­jects shows Fan­ning na­gi­vat­ing her way through a new life back home and striv­ing to find her foot­ing while her mother moth­ers her, in hopes that her daugh­ter can still be a suc­cess.

Dye­ing her Ir­ish red hair blonde to avoid anti-Ir­ish prej­u­dice and go­ing by the name May, Fan­ning lands a job at an an­tique shop.

While she finds so­lace in her em­ploy­ers’ quirks and vast col­lec­tion, the job leads to a se­ries of dis­rup­tive ad­ven­tures when Fan­ning re­unites with so­cialite Diana Van der Larr, whom she be­friended while in the asy­lum.

Au­thor Tes­saro is witty, and her com­pli­cated young fe­male char­ac­ters in­spire ques­tions on the is­sues of con­ven­tion, moral­ity, and self-dis­cov­ery very well.

Sub­plots – in­volv­ing Fan­ning’s Ital­ian neigh­bours, the Rus­sos, and her em­ploy­ers at the an­tique shop, Mr Kessler and Mr Win­shaw, who are mostly away on arche­o­log­i­cal ex­plo­ration – pro­vide much of the story’s comic re­lief from Fan­ning’s con­tin­u­ous spi­ral into de­struc­tion.

This is over­all an en­ter­tain­ing read and if you’re look­ing for a book with just the right amount of in­ten­sity with­out be­ing too over­whelm­ing, Rare Ob­jects has a good bal­ance of both. – Yeevon Ong

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