Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

Bought in Waitrose, as I have read her earlier two books and love her quirky style. Plus she's a local Dorset author!

Set mostly in the early 60s, Juliet is a young Jewish mother whose Hungarian refugee husband has deserted her. He just left, on her birthday, taking a portrait of her but leaving no explanation. No amount of searching for him by the local Jewish community throws up any trace as to where he has gone. Juliet needs to rebuild her life - and she does this by opening an art gallery. She has an eye for what's good and what's not, and it becomes a huge success. Along the way she acquires dozens more portraits of herself.

Eventually news comes that possibly her husband is in California, and Juliet goes there with her children in search of him...

I loved this book, just like Solomons' previous titles. Quirky, unusual, firmly rooted in its time period and community and with a heroine I won't forget quickly. As an 'aguna' (deserted wife) Juliet has no real identity in her community. That, I think, is why she felt the need to collect so many portraits of herself.

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