Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Natural Laws of Good Luck

This is an amazing book.

Ellen is a poet and artist, a forty-six year old divorced woman who wishes she had someone to share the joys and beauties of her rural life -- someone with whom to watch the circling hawk, the setting sun. And if he could fix some of the broken things around her ramshackle farmhouse -- well that would be nice too.

She imagined a man with "a sweet and burly personality, and he came over after work in his tight, dirty blue jeans. He was wily and strong and always smiling. He would swing me up over his head, I would bubble with laughter, and then we would fix stuff."

This is the story of the man she got -- the man who, at the suggestion of a friend, Ellen went to China to meet and, after two weeks, marry. Zhong-hua is a stoic survivor of China's Cultural Revolution. When they met, he spoke almost no English and in the beginning he broke far more things than he fixed, but he was the man with whom she fell in love and with whom she began slowly to piece together a life.

Romantic, funny, sad, baffling, practical, and maddeningly impractical by turns -- the story of Ellen and Zhong-hua is, in the end, a love story and a lesson in acceptance -- in surrendering to the moment. I loved the poetic descriptions, the wry humor, the philosophical insights, and the down-the-rabbit-hole quality of the entire adventure that is the marriage of these two amazing people.

Full disclosure: I know Ellen slightly -- she's the sister of a good friend -- and I read bits of this book while it was being written. It's possible my view of the book isn't totally objective. But I really am enthusiastic about it -- read it in less than 24 hours. If I hadn't liked it, I just would have kept quiet. I do, however, love this book and think that many of you will too.

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Carol Murdock said...

Hey, Vicki, it sounds like a good read to me. After all I have my own surprising love story! :)

Tammy said...

I've put it on my wishlist! Thanks for sharing, it sounds interesting. Weather has turned hot, dry and beastly here. Got really spoiled with all the cool weather!

Vicki Lane said...

Carol, this story is so wild that folks are going to think she made it up -- but I heard about it via her sister as it all unfolded.

Tammy -- yep, hot and dry here too. But, ah! that perfect July! They can't take that away . . .

Pat in east TN said...

I'm with Tammy ... the book is on my wish list along with so many others, BUT I usually put your suggestions at the top. You've pointed me in the right direction many times ... I just started "Tender Graces" today and it gets you from the first page.

Miss_Yves said...

Thank youfor your visit and comments during my holidays.I bought your first book (la montagne des secrets )and i intend to read it quickly !
Please, what's the meaning of"down-the-rabbit hole",

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Pat, Glad you're enjoying TENDER GRACES. In this weather staying out of the sun with a good book is a GOOD THING>

Miss Yves -- I'm excited to think you're reading LA MONTAGNE!

Down the rabbit hole refers to Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND -- a children's classic -- where Alice follows a rabbit down a hole into a world of fantasy where nothing makes much sense but it's all a lot of fun.

(I hope that explanation made some sense!)

Margie said...

Hi Vicki, Thank you for visiting Margie's Crafts and leaving your great comment, you made Mr Margie a very happy man this evening. The book sounds like a great read, is it available in Europe yet? Hugs, Margie.

Vicki Lane said...

The book just came out this week over here. I checked Amazon UK and it says available for preorder; out Sept. 9, 2009.

Glad Mr. M's evening was brightened!

Merisi said...

It does indeed sound like one of those "impossible" love stories!
Hard to imagine what attracts two people who are from such different backgrounds and don't speak each other's language. On the other hand, "imagine there's no countries ..." - deep down they must have had the same dreams of a fulfilled life.

Vicki Lane said...

As I said, Merisi, it's baffling. But by the end of the book, I felt like I had come to understand something of the glue that keeps this couple together.