Posted on Monday, April 17th, 2006 at 2:23 pm under Fiction

Title: The Inn at Lake Devine
Author: Eleanor Lipman
Genre: Fiction

Why I liked this book: It’s a charming and uncomfortable premise; 13-year old Natalie is fascinated and infuriated by a letter her mother receives from a potential vacation hotel explaining that the best and happiest customers of the Inn at Lake Devine “are Gentiles”. Natalie begins a series of prank calls and letters as retribution against the innkeeper, and when she learns that her friend from summer camp summers at the Inn at Lake Devine, Natalie manipulates an invitation. She learns that, yes, the innkeeper is indeed an anti-Semite, but her sons and husband are not.

And life goes on, taking a tangled, unexpected path for Natalie, which seems to lead, repeatedly, back to the Inn at Lake Devine.

Really, though, the plot is secondary for me on this one. My primary affection for this book comes from the characters, the humor, and the clean, clear writing. I tend to overuse the word “evocative”, but this one was. Even though Pammy appears for a few paragraphs, at most, I knew who Natalie’s older sister was, and I understood her role in Natalie’s life. Her writing on mourning, funerals, and our reactions to death were so accurate to my own experience that I stopped to marvel at the clarity of her description. Lipman doesn’t need a lot of words to convey things like that, because she has used the right words to express her meaning.

A good read, an easy read, a funny read, and a thoughtful read. Evocative. So there.

Leave a Reply