- Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
This is my first MK book and I find that my impressions of an author evolves quite a bit with each reading. It's like grading on a curve for the first-timers, so consider yourself forewarned. At any rate, I'm pleased because I think I've found the answer to one of my biblio-conundrums. Irish authors, much as I like them, have a beautifully sad style that can really bring a girl down. Bittersweet - I love it, but it haunts me for a while. That's why I've stopped reading Maeve Binchy. She always has an O. Henry twist in every story, delicious but painful. Marian Keyes combines the great storytelling with a satisfying ending (as in, it has a point and gets there - closure is a good thing!).
Although there are romantic elements, the essence of Sushi for Beginners boils down to three interconnected women: Ashling, Lisa, and Clodagh. Empathy is optional, but the people and action breathe. The book starts off a little awkwardly, but soon rights itself. The plot is believable and well-paced, the dialogue is witty, and the characters are distinctive and develop nicely. Call me blind, but I wasn't entirely sure how it was going to end or what characters were going to mix, so that element of semi-suspense kept me up reading late. It's a perfectly balance of lightness and purpose.