by Kim Edwards
This is a literary work, meaning that like most literary novels it moves slowly. The protagonist, Lucy Jarrett, is a modern woman, who travels the world working in exotic places, moving from affair to affair until she finds a Japanese man to love.
Lucy’s DNA provides her the mystical skill of picking locks, which she applies to ordinary locks and to an almost heroic task in uncovering the buried, tragic story of a pioneering feminist among her antecedents.
In the course of achieving her goal, Lucy manages to put the death of her father in a context which releases her from a lifetime of guilt and provides a previously unknown 90-something cousin with a mollifying solution for her abandonment as a child and adult.
The novel is worth reading for both the unfolding detective-like skills of the protagonist; the vivid picture of the transformation of a town’s economy from a production to a cutesy, tourist milieu; and for the comparison of society’s restrictions on an independent woman in the early 1900s versus the unfettered life that an educated and self-confident Lucy pursues in modern times.