Mar 1, 2011

hidden monkey - Because I Have Loved and Hidden It, by Elise Moser

Today, a new monkey joins the shelves. The hidden monkey.

Or hidden book, if you will. The book that, for one reason or another, never got the attention it desired (leastwise, from the shelf monkey).

Which, of course, goes for most books. But since blogging is largely subjective, I'll allow myself the power to decide what precisely constitutes a hidden monkey.

These will be short, pithy reviews, because sometimes, my longwindedness overwhelms me.

Today's debut instalment:

Because I Have Loved and Hidden It (Cormorant Books, 2009)
by Elise Moser

the hidden monkey plot: Julia is a fortyish woman whose mother has just passed away. At the funeral, her Uncle Paul reveals a startling revelation about her past, one that her mother has kept hidden away until now. In a parallel plotline, Julia's married lover Nicholas has gone missing, and as she strikes up an unlikely friendship with his wife, Julia finds herself becoming unmoored from the life she thought she knew.

why is this monkey hidden? It is a fact of literary life that sometimes (hell, most times), despite glowing reviews, quality books deserving of love fall between the cracks. Until I had cause to meet the author Elise Moser in person, I had never heard of Because I Have Loved at all.

what does the shelf monkey think? Because I Have Loved and Hidden It is gloriously lush and sensual, a deeply passionate examination of one woman's spiritual rebirth, if that isn't too hackneyed and overused a phrase. Moser displays a raw carnality that is refreshing, never playing coy but giving full force to the emotional erruptions Julia faces. The plot description may seem the stuff of soap operas, but Moser is a gifted storyteller, bringing Julia to life with delicate notes that enbue her with emotional realism. There are a few jarring moments - references to The X-Files and other popular entertainments are at odds with the subtlety of Moser's prose - but overall this is a sterling novel, one to be savoured.

hidden monkey verdict: this monkey deserves to come out of the shadows.

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