Times may change, but we remain incurable
Sometimes you receive a book (an ARC, in my case), and you hope it is good. When you read it, you are honoured, because it is excellent. Incurable will have you flipping through its word-painted images, and thinking about its characters long after you’ve read the last line.
The book tells the story about a very young woman in the USA, in the time before, during and after WW II, trying to escape the fake world of wealth-polished abuse, and falling into the hellish tapestry of Hollywood glitter and the naked truth hidden below. It is filled with excellent, inobtrusive descriptions, which blend naturally within the story. The author has obviously done lots of research, and manages to put you on the scene skillfully, without evident effort, engaging all your senses. The crime story streaming through the plot is truly engaging, and has you guessing and rooting for the heroine till the very end.
From the gripping first, but especially second chapter, reminiscent in atmosphere of P. Marlowe, the story is told with love and respect, both for the characters and readers. There is a mind-blowing myriad of characters, especially women, strong women, battling their weakness and centuries-long submission to men’s leading role as providers. Not all beauty is skin-deep, and public success may well be just an optical illusion. Not every hero is always good, not every villain is completely irredeemable. The author displays people’s vanity, weakness, balancing the thin line between what is and isn’t considered moral or immoral, all in order to survive, to escape their history and family legacy if possible. Intriguing human stories fill the pages – from the wise, uneducated nanny to the miserable rich ladies, the seemingly successful stars of burlesque, seedy human trafickers, family histories tainted with greed and revenge, dream-filled immigrants and prejudiced narrow-minded abusers. The intensity of brutal hate and malice is sometimes so overwhelming, just like in real life, and yet the characters all keep chasing love, friendship and success. There is a very open account of sexuality and promiscuity of the time, which is rarely spoken of in such a matter-of-fact way, even gruesome topics, so despite your romantic notions of love during the war, do not expect a soothing, romantic, dreamy account. But do expect friendships and love forged through hellfire!
Each decade of the main character’s life brings us an array of different people, each with their own set of values and prejudice, all naked under the facade. It is hard to pick my favourites, although detective Reg and his accidental assistant Doris do take the lead. But Wesley is so tenderly portrayed, with all his faults and virtues, and has such a good heart; he is one of those people who never dominate, but are always cherished.
The span through several decades provides us with proof that we can never truly know what motivates someone to do something, till we talk it all out openly. Secrets hurt, and sometimes they even kill. Historical events in Europe influencing the lives of people in the USA seem to follow the main storyline, but actually emphasize how intricate all our relationships are, and how intertwined our destinies are. Each ripple counts.
E.C. Moore’s Incurable kept me on my toes wanting to read as fast as I could. There were plenty of topics I never relish thinking about, but they are topics we must think about if we are to face them and change them. Families which are never the safe haven they should be, dream jobs which are more like purgatory, friendships of convenience… But there is always passion and love at the root of things. Incurable is a proper saga, and lends itself to a fabulous TV-series. If you want a book which will engage your mind, soul and senses, Incurable will deliver.
I love the ending – despite all the dire straits, it celebrates accomplishment, not fame. It celebrates the real values in life, earned through hardship, but cherished forever.
Incurable is now available on Amazon here…