Borrowed Book Club: Carol

Borrowed Book Club started because my friends and I often pass books around to each other. I love to think about which of my friends my current book would suit, and I love that they sometimes think of me when they read a passage. Here is a review, exactly 250 words, about a book that was borrowed to me. Carol resides on Ffion’s artistically organised bookshelf. She is the Mulder to my Scully.

Carol is novel about falling in love. It’s almost impossible not to read it through a vintage lens, with its vignette burns and autumnal tones of brown and red. Told from the moment shop girl Therese sets her eyes upon Carol, an older woman with a daughter and a failing marriage. It’s cinematic, it’s beautiful, and it’s dramatic. Just like falling in love. Therese is irrational, endearingly obsessive and adorable. There is a part of the novel where she hopes that, as she and Carol drive through a tunnel, it will collapse on them and they’ll be together forever. This is a nonchalant thought, just one of many over-the-top passages that make Carol a little funny. It doesn’t feel like a typical, taboo story focused on anything forbidden. Therese and Carol love each other, this story is nothing more.

Most of the novel consists of a road trip, set in lonely 1950s America, where neither of these women should feel the way they do about each other. Despite all their obstacles – the time, Carol’s husband, and a certain twist near the end – this novel is praised for giving a queer couple a happy ending, something of which today’s literature and media seems incapable. Written in 1952 under a pseudonym by Patricia Highsmith, an author who is more commonly known for her psychological thrillers, Carol is as gripping as any thriller. Their romance is exciting and unprecedented, worthy of a 2015 Oscar-nominated film. And it passes the Bechdel test right away.


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