Thursday, 11 July 2019

Paris in July - My love for French history

When I was young I had a period where I was really obsessed with French history, especially the time of Louis XIV. I read a lot about his time, both non-fiction and fiction. I can't remember how it started, but maybe it was with the books about Angelique. Written by Serge and Anne Golon, which in the English and Swedish translations were merged to Sergeanne Golon. According to Wikipedia it was mainly Anne who wrote the books and her husband Serge who did the historical research.

The books were a big success at the time. I wanted to read them and went to the local library (in a village) to ask for them. I never forget what the librarian said: "We don't keep books like that!" They were obviously not comme-il-faut enough! So what did I do? I bought them. This must have been in the beginning of the 70s, and I still have them on my shelves! From time to time I re-read some of them.

I think I love them because of the historical settings. It is set during the time of Louis XIV, mostly in France, but also in Morocco and, the last books, in the New World. It was a turbulent time, and Angelique is moving in different worlds; from the rich aristocratic world to the poorest part of Paris. Many of the historical events in the books have inspired me to further reading. There is a lot of action as well as romance. A good mix.

It is always interesting to read about kings and queens, and Louis XIV was grander than life itself (not talking about his political deeds, just his way of promoting himself). L'état c'est moi! He built Versailles which was the model for later palaces in different countries. Still today, it might be considered the grandest of them all. He ruled as an absolute monarch for 72 years. Must be a record long reign? Even today, many books on historical fiction are set in this time.

Being obsessed with French history, led to the book Désirée by Annemarie Selinko, which I read about the same time, that is, in my youth. She was the daughter of a merchant in Corsica, and was engaged to Napoleon. That was before he went to Paris and met Josephine. She did not do bad when she married one of Napoleon's Marchals, Jean-Baptist Bernadotte. He became King of Sweden in 1818, and she, Queen Desideria. It seems she was not too happy being queen of this dark and cold country. She probably fared better though,  than if she had been married to Napoleon.

Lately, I read a great biography, Marie Antoinette - The Journey by Antonia Fraser. An Austrian princess married to the doomed Louis XVI. She was not entirely happy at the French court and was rather disliked. There is a little bit of a Swedish connection here. The Swedish Count Axel von Fersen is rumoured to have been her lover. He also staged a rescuing attempt when they were threatened with imprisonment. It failed and you all know what happened.

Axel von Fersen is also an interesting character; "a Swedish count, Marshal of the Realm of Sweden, a General of Horse in the Royal Swedish Army, one of the Lords of the Realm, aide-de-camp to Rochambeau in the American Revolutionary War, diplomat and statesman, and a friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France." (from Wikipedia). He met a terrible end in Sweden, but more about that when I have read a recent purchase; Huset von Fersens uppgång och fall (The Rise and Fall of the House of von Fersen, my transl.) by Göran Norrby.

Another book that is waiting to be read about this time, is Bussy-Rabutin's Histoires Amoureuses des Gaules. It is in French so it will take me a long time. Last year, for Paris in July, I wrote about his beautiful castle. Bussy-Rabutin was part of the court of Louis XIV, although he had some troubles.

Château de Bussy-Rabutin is an interesting and very well preserved castle. It was originally built in the 12th century by Renaudin de Bussy, but has been extended and renovated through the centuries. In the 17th century it belonged to Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy (1618-1693). He was a member of the Academy during the reign of Louis XIV, a notorious womaniser, and on top of that, he was bold enough to put his impressions on the life at the Sun king's court into print. The book, Histoires Amoureuses des Gaules, led him directly to the Bastille and later on, in exile at his castle in Bourgogne. Although my French is not that good, I could not help but buy the book. A page a day?

A few French memories from my reading life.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Reading and highlights January - June 2019

I cannot believe it, but we have entered the second half of the year. Time for a round-up of my reading for the first half of 2019. I have read 54 books, of which I am rather proud. Of those, 20 books come from my TBR shelves. I aimed for 48 books, so have to hurry up a little bit.

I really liked most of the books I read, but here are some highlights that stick out.

Two thrilling books by Nele Neuhaus, Snow White Must Die and Big Bad Wolf. Her books are so well written and the story lines so exciting, with twists and turns. They also go deep into the characters, whether it is the police women/men, the culprit or all the people surrounding the story. Thrilling until the very end.

The Third Man by Graham Greene is a classic. I have seen the film many times, but not read the book. Greene wrote it as a script for the film, and it has then been turned into a book. I actually listened to it. It was wonderfully narrated by Martin Jarvis. The very dark and brooding atmosphere that you see in the film, is very well transformed into this narration.

Falls the Shadow by Gemma O'Connor has been on my TBR shelves for a long time. It is a different kind of murder case, going back to the 1940s. A young girl is witness to a murder and 50-60 years later is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Her daughter is questioning the verdict and starts looking into her mother's life, and finds some interesting and surprising aspects.

Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber is a classic that has been on my shelves for a long time. I loved the story of Clio Dulaine and Clint Maroon and their struggle to make themselves a better life.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams. I received this novel as a reading copy via NetGalley. It is about to be published. An interesting historical fiction of the 'beautiful' set in Bahamas during World War II, with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the forefront. It is a wonderful story of love, deceit, spies and political turmoil. This is my number one favourite so far this year.

Sebastian Barry never disappoints you. On Canaan's Side is another of his real life stories of Irish people immigrating to America. He very well describes the situation in Ireland and how the Irish fare when coming to America. It is narrated by 89-year-old Lily Bere. She looks back on her life and we feel all the sorrows, but also joys, she has gone through. A beautiful tale.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Eleanor, The Secret Queen by John Ashdown-Hill

In 2012 the skeleton of Richard III was found under a parking lot in Leicester. The event started an interest in me to know more about him and the discovery. I read two books connected to Richard III; The Search for Richard III - The King's Grave by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones and Richard III and the Princes in the Tower by A.J. Pollard. It also generated a visit to Leicester and Richard III's tomb,  as well as a reading of Shakespeare's Richard III. There was something missing though.

One question was never answered; why was there not more written about Richard III's claim that he was the legitimate heir, since Edward IV was already married to Eleanore Talbot, when he entered into matrimony with Elizabeth Woodville. There were parliamentary documents which showed that this was the case. But how are they to be interpreted?

As always it is a complicated political matter. Richard III's ascent to the throne was surrounded by chock and a lot of resistant from various parts. The disappearance of the Princes in the Tower was another question, more urgent, as well as the fact that he only ruled for two years, before he died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, defeated by Henry Tudor. Tudor, who married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York, in order to legitimatise his own power, was not interested in hearing that she was illegitimate.

While visiting the beautiful Richard III museum in Leicester, I found a book about Eleanor Talbot. Eleanor, The Secret Queen. The Woman who put Richard III on the Throne by John Ashdown-Hill. There is not very much known about Eleanor, but Ashdown-Hill has done his research well. It is a very interesting story, especially with all the complications that such a marriage implied, not only for Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, but also for Richard III and Henry VII.
"Eleanor had been born under the sign of Pisces, and either by fate or by chance, she was to grow up with many of the characteristics traditionally ascribed to that star sign, for she was gentle, sensitive, idealistic and perhaps even somewhat passive. A girl who needed her own space, she would also ultimately develop a bent towards contemplation and mysticism."
Since there is not much information on Eleanor herself, Ashdown-Hill has concentrated on her family and how life was lived at the time. Sometimes it reads a little bit too academic, and not always relevant to the story. However, if you are interested in history, it is an interesting analyses of the days. It also shows how little women had to say about their own lives. Ashdown-Hill argues, and shows documents to prove his point, that Eleanor was married to Edward IV.

Like for Richard III (until recently) nobody knows where Eleanor is buried. Ashdown-Hill's detective work has taken him to a possible burial point, but it cannot, today, be determined that the remains found belonged to Eleanor or not. It you, like me, are interested in historical mysteries, it is a fascinating book to read and conclusions well documented where possible. Usually, royal weddings are a public affair. But in the case of Edward the IV, it seems he married on his own accord, not only once, but twice. Without consulting the proper authorities. It is fascinating to consider the consequences, as Ashdown-Hill puts it:
"Why then has Eleanor been so completely neglected? She is, in her own way, a key figure of English history, a veritable 'Cleopatra's nose'. If her marriage to Edward IV had been acknowledged in her lifetime, if she had actually been enthroned and crowned as England's queen-consort, all subsequent history must have been different. The house of York might still have been reigning today, in a separate kingdom, never united to Scotland. The despotic, paranoid Tudors would have remained unheard of outside their native Wales. Enormous consequences would flow from all this. The English Reformation, which sprang from Henry VIII's dynastic and financial crises, and was neither generally desired nor supported by the English populace, have preserved to the present day their unrivalled cultural heritage. No Tudors would mean no Stuarts; no Civil War; no Oliver Cromwell. The story goes on and on. It all turns on Eleanor."
It is a staggering thought of what might, or might not have been. Historians do not agree on whether Eleanor and Edward were actually married or not. How should the text of the document be interpreted? If they were married, why did not her family, or herself, come forward when he married Elizabeth Woodville? We will probably never know the true details, but it is yet another interesting and fascinating historical mystery.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Paris in July 2019 - Claude Cahun exhibition

Paris in July is hosted by Thyme for Tea. One of my favourite memes, to talk and read about everything Parisian and/or French.

I had business in Halmstad (south west coast of Sweden) the other day. I picked up a beautiful painting that I bought. I will show it later. There were a surrealist group of painter in the beginning of the 20th century, living and working in Halmstad. They are called "The Halmstad Group". Starting out in the ordinary way, they very soon entered into surrealism. After having lived in Belgium, there is no getting away from surrealism. Although, I was not such a fan from the beginning, it grew on me, and today, I am rather fond of it. At the Mjellby Art Gallery there is a permanent exhibition with this group. But, what does it have to do with Paris in July you ask? Nothing really. BUT! At the same gallery there is an photo exhibition of a surrealist photographer, Claude Cahun. Never heard about her, or him, earlier, but it was a very interesting acquaintance.

Claude Cahun (1894-1954), or Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob as she was named, was born in Nantes, into a cultural family. In 1909 she met her lifelong partner Marcel Moore (a pseudonym for Suzanne Malherbe). They formed a duo in the artistic scene of Paris in the 1920s. They interacted with artists, writers and actors, and became a part of the Surrealist set. In the late 1930s they moved to Jersey where they established a resistent movement in opposition to the Nazi occupation. They were captured and sentenced to death. The peace saved them.

Claude Cahun worked closely with Marcel Moore and they staged their photographs. She usually just used one camera, but did not develop the photos herself. Many of their motives were surrealistic, experimenting with identity, gender and different personae. As often is the case, she was never recognised during her life time. It is only in the 1980s that her photos were once again discovered.

The exhibition is very interesting. She is often herself the model, although in different disguises. It is sometimes difficult to see whether it is a man or a woman in the pictures. She was a pioneer in her way of staging her photos. Very talented, she also wrote poetry and books.

You could not be in Paris in the 1920s without encounter Surrealism. This is the time of André Breton's first Surrealist manifesto, and a group of artists came together to adopt the new 'ism'.

"Following the meeting with Breton, Cahun and Moore were drawn closer to the Surrealist group. Often extravagantly dressed in pink and gold, they would arrive at the meetings as a couple, which was not appreciated by any of the Surrealists despite the message Surrealism wished to convey about transcending norms. However, they did develop friendships with many of the Surrealists, including Max Ernst, Benjamin Péret, Yves Tanguy and René Char. Cahun and Moore thus came to be part of a successful, intellectual group in Paris that comprised artists, writers, authors and actors. "
                                                                                             From exhibition brochure

Another interesting couple in Paris in the 1920s. It seems to have been a wonderful time to be there if you were an artist of any kind. I found a book that hopefully will give me a picture of the life there at the time. "Ett magiskt rum - Salonger i 1920-talets Paris (A Magical Room - Salons in Paris in the 1920s) by Ingrid Svensson. Four women are in the forefront of this book, says the author; Gertrude Stein, Natalie Clifford Barney, Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach. I have only heard of the first and last, but am sure it will be an interesting read.

Do you have any views on surrealism? What do you think?

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Composer or Wie man ein Genie tötet by Ingvar Hellsing Lundqvist

Hans Rott is an Austrian composer of little fame. He was born in 1858 and died in 1884 in a mental hospital, at the age of 25. His life was a sad one. Music his passion, his legacy?  One Symphony and a few 'Lieders'.

One evening, Ingvar Hellsing Lundqvist, heard Rott's symphony and was hooked. He had to find out more about the composer. The more he found out, the more he realised he had a book to write. It became the historical fiction, Wie man ein Genie tötet (How to Kill a Genius; my translation).

Rott lived a life of poverty. He received a scholarship to study music. His efforts went into his symphony, which he forwarded to a competition. Sure of winning, he was devastated when being ignored by the jury. He blamed his adversary, Brahms, also part of the jury. Rott goes into a depression. He imagines he sees Brahms everywhere, and that he is there to ruin his life. While on a train, he threatens another passenger with a revolver, claiming that Brahms has filled the train with dynamite. That is the beginning of the end, and shortly afterwords he ends up in a mental institution, with the diagnosis of persecutory delusions. He died a few years later.

The story of Rott's life is one of those stories where life exceeds fiction. Lundqvist has written a wonderful novel that captures Rott's sad life. We see the world from Rott's perspective. His inner thoughts, crazy as they are from time to time, give us a glimpse of a man who only wanted to create music, but reality knocks on the door. Rott's delusions and thoughts are so well described. You suffer with him. I found myself wishing for him to succeed, and at the same time, realising how crazy many of his thoughts are, knowing he will not. It almost reads like a thriller sometimes. Lundqvist slowly builds up Rott's life from early teens until his death. You are there with him through the different parts of his life. The dialogues are also well written and adds to the character of Rott.

I was really captured by Rott's story. Still today, I doubt many people have heard about him. I had not. His only symphony, Symphony in E major was finally performed for the first time in 1989(!) by Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra. I  have listened to part of it. Mixing beautiful melodious music with powerful parts. Below from Youtube.

Ingvar Hellsing Lundqvist is a Swedish writer and this is his first novel. Unfortunately, it was not accepted for publication in Sweden, but a translation into German, by Jürgen Vater, generated publication in Austria. It is definitely worth a read. A different story, very well told.

I received a copy of the book from the author, for a fair and impartial review.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

In the latest Classic Club spin, the number ended on 19, which directed me to Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I thought I had all the time to read, but alas it was a little bit longer than I expected. I could not read it straight through, so divided it into smaller parts. Anyway, I did finish it on 11 June (instead of end of May), but flexibility is needed sometimes.

It is a very strange book and I don't really know what to think about it. It spans over more around 400 years. Orlando is a nobleman in the times of Elizabeth I and becomes one of her many favourites. He lives a life of leisure and tries to become a poet. At the age of 30 he is changed into a woman, who then lives on for centuries. The story continues up until 1928, which was the year Woolf's book was published.

It is a satire of English life and English literature. The pleasantries of life come and go, but through the ages they fail to be a reason for living. Poetry is the one reason that never fails. Orlando, in both disguises, tries to become a famous poet. It takes centuries before Orlando finally manages to finalise her poem, "The Oak Tree", but then she shuns fame. Sees it for what it really is, a shamble.

Orlando behaves the same whether he/she is a man or a woman. The values are the same and life is the same.
"We may take advantage of this pause in the narrative to make certain statements. Orlando had become a woman - there is no denying it. But in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been. The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity. Their faces remained, as their portraits prove, practically the same. His memory - but in future we must, for convention's sake, say 'her' for 'his,' and 'she' for 'he' - her memory then, went back through all the events of her past life without encountering any obstacle."
Even if Orlando is a woman during a time when women did not enjoy the same freedom as men, Orlando still acts his/her own way. Even sometimes dressing as a man although she is a woman. Orlando does realise though, that society in general is divided by the ambitions of the different sexes. Men want to climb the social ladder in society and make a mark on it. Feelings must be depressed. The women on the other hand can more easily express their feelings, but are bound, or captured, by the limits of society. Orlando acts the same independently on which gender he/she is.

It is a book about our society, how it changes, or not changes(?) through times. Are the rules of society more free at the time Woolf writes the book, or are they the same as they have been for centuries, just in another disguise? The book is inspired by Woolf's relationship with poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West. Her son, Nigel Nicolson, wrote: "The effect of Vita on Virginia is all contained in Orlando, the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of the centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her." (Blair, Kirstie (2004). "Gypsies and Lesbian Desire: Vita Sackville-West, Violet Trefusis, and Virginia Woolf". Twentieth Century Literature).

It is certainly an interesting angle that Woolf chooses to use, when looking at life, desires and how the norms of society impose on our actions. Do we adapt to our society and the norms, or are we, as Woolf suggests, the same regardless of society?

"She turned back to the first page and read the date, 1586, written in her own boyish hand. She had been working at it for close three hundred years now. It was time to make an end. Meanwhile she began turning and dipping and reading and skipping and thinking as she read, how very little she had changed all these years. She had been a gloomy boy, in love with death, as boys are; and then she had been amorous and florid; and the she had been sprightly and satirical; and sometimes she had tried prose and sometimes she had tried drama. Yet through all these changes she had remained, she reflected, fundamentally the same. She had the same brooding meditative temper, the same love of animals and nature, the same passion for the country and the seasons."

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Paris in July 2019

Tamara at Thyme for Tea is hosting another Paris in July event this year. One of my favourite events, so can't really stay out of it.

Paris in July is a French themed blogging experience running from the 1st – 31st July this year.

The aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through actual visits, or through reading, watching, listening, observing, cooking and eating all things French!  Here's a link to some of my previous reviews.

There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of this experience – just blog about anything French and you can join in! Some ideas might include;

reading a French themed book – fiction or non-fiction,
watching a French movie,
listening to French music,
cooking French food,
experiencing French, art, architecture and travel

I have not really decided what to do yet. Watching a French film and/or TV-series is one option. Listening to some French music should be good. Maybe cooking some French food. Looking at my TBR shelves I have two books of French authors (not read).

That is Histoire amoureuse des Gaules by Bussy-Rabutin. It is in French so not sure I will be able to finish it in one month. It will take me a long time to read. Maybe a few chapters at least.

The other one is Stendahl's The Red and the Black. A huge book, at least in English, but might be too much for one month.

The aim will be to read something from these two books at least. There might turn up a few other French books as well. But, not Zola ...!

The name of Philippe de Commines has popped up two times recently. Never heard of him before, but that is serendipity.

"He was a writer and diplomat in the courts of Burgundy and France. He has been called "the first truly modern writer" (Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve) and "the first critical and philosophical historian since classical times" (Oxford Companion to English Literature). Neither a chronicler nor a historian in the usual sense of the word, his analyses of the contemporary political scene are what made him virtually unique in his own time." (Wikipedia)

He turned up in a TV-series about Maximilian I which I saw recently. Had to look him up, because these kind of historical fiction series do not always stick totally to real events. To my surprise his name also turned up while reading John Ashdown-Hill's non fiction on Eleanor, The Secret Queen (The Woman who put Richard III on the Throne - review will follow). I found his Memoirs on-line on Richard III Society - American Branch. Would certainly be interested to read part of his memoirs.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

This weeks book is the much debated 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson. A recent purchase, not yet read, just to know what all the fuss is about.

Book beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader
"This book has a short history and a long history. We'll begin with the short history."

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda´s Voice
"The original Man and Woman, existing in unbroken unity with their Creator, did not appear conscious (and certainly not self-conscious). Their eyes were not open. But, in their perfection, they were also less, not more, than their post_fall counterparts. Their goodness was something bestowed, rather than deserved or earned."

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a beloved and well-known author. Perhaps mostly known for The House of the Spirits, she has written numerous books. They are mostly based on her own experience and historical events. She also includes and dedicates her books to women and their stories. I have only read Island Beneath the Sea, which is slightly different from her other books, being more based on historical events during the Haitian revolution. I really loved that book. Of Love and Shadows is another book to love. From the back cover:
"Set in a country of arbitrary arrests, sudden disappearances and summary executions, Isabel Allende's magical new novel tells of the passionate affair of two people prepared to risk everything for the sake of justice and truth. Irene Beltrán, a reporter, comes from a wealthy background; Francisco Leal, a young photographer secretly engaged in undermining the military dictatorship, is strongly attracted by her beauty. It does not matter that Irene´s fiancé is an army captain: each time Francisco accompanies her on a magazine assignment, he falls more deeply in love with her."
There is the mysterious case of a young girl, Evangelina Ranquileo, who suffers from mystical fits which are said to give her healing powers. When Irene and Francisco go there to investigate, it turns out that they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers arrive to arrest Evangelina and the situations turns sour. They take her with her, and she is never seen again. This is a scenario too well known, but they can't let it go. They set out to try to find out what happened to her and step into a situation that totally change their lives.

Isabel Allende's writing is called magical realism. She describes the happenings in all its frightening aspects. At the same time, her language is poetic and so beautiful, it seems almost impossible to use under the circumstances. Irene is a naive, young woman, a product of her upbringing. Francisco, whose parents fled from Spain during the war, is seeing more clearly what is happening in the country.
"'All you will have is the present. Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow. Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive. It is the vice of the expatriate. You must put down roots as if they were forever, you must have a sense of permanence,' concluded Professor Leal, and his son remembered that the elderly actress had said the same."
It is a very interesting, as well as a terrible story, but most likely quite common under dictatorship, wherever it is found. At the same time it is an exciting read, where you really don't know how the ending will be. With her characters, Allende takes us down to the nitty-gritty political world, where we engage in the cause, due to her well drawn characters. An important book to read.

Monday, 10 June 2019

A few short reviews

From reading 12 books in March the number has gone done quite a bit. April ended on 5 book, May on 4 and so far in June I have read 4 books. Probably summer and mostly a bit of travelling. The reviews have been even rarer. So here are a few shorter ones on some of the books.

Med Örnen mot polen by Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi (Scientific account of the Andrée expedition 1897)

An old book that stays open when you
put it on the table!
Aahh, the pleasure of an old book. I think I got this from a friend who moved. It is printed in 1930,
the same year as the Andrée expedition was found. It is put together by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. As such I did expect a little bit of dry scientific account. Far from it! There are extracts from the diaries of the expedition members, accounts on the various scientific tasks the expedition had, as well as information on equipment, clothes, food and everything daily life. Also a report from one of the journalists covering the find.

It reads like an adventure book and it is so exciting to hear, through the diaries, how life was for them. They tried to reach the pole by an air balloon, but failed to come very far. Most of their efforts turned out to be to find a way home, including carrying all the equipment in the boats they brought with them. Hardships if ever.

One of the things that struck me was the quality, or material, of the clothes they have. When one considers the beautiful materials available today, one gets really scared when you realise they were travelling with wool and cotton materials. Even the scientists evaluating the expedition, mentioned that they had the wrong kind of clothes.

Bea Uusma is a Swedish author, illustrator and doctor. She got so fascinated by this expedition that she studied to become a doctor in order to find out the truth of how they died. I read her book, Expeditionen - Min kärlekshistoria (The Expedition - My Love Story) before this one, but they do compliment each other. When real life is more exciting than any made up story.

Störst av allt (Quicksand) by Malin Persson Giolito

Malin Persson Giolito is a lawyer, turned author. This is her fourth book. They are all free standing and concerns legal aspects of society. Quicksand is about a school shooting in an upper class neighbourhood. The story follows the girl who participated in the shooting and we get the story from her point of view. It goes back and forth to the actual happening and the following trial.