30 Days of Books: Day Three
Posted by Jen Moore
Day 03 - The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
Lifelode by Jo Walton. This is not a book for everyone: it’s a small domestic fantasy novel. That is, it takes place in a fantasy universe with magic and whatnot, but there’s no epic quest to save the universe, it’s (just?) the story of a manor house and the most important thing that ever happened to the people who live there. And I love it. I wish “domestic fantasy” were a genre that really existed.
It’s not for everyone; I like things with slow pacing and more daily, domestic interactions than Epic Plot Sequences, but I know that bores some people. That said, I suppose Lifelode might be a good book for people who like contemporary fiction but aren’t sure about fantasy. On the other hand, it’s not like the fantasy element is inconsequential, as the magical geography of this world is really the linchpin the plot turns on.
Tanith is the main character of this book. She runs the household that is at the center of the story, as part of the four-person romantic relationship that forms the core of the household. Yep, that’s right, four of them, two married couples who are also lovers between them. It’s a pretty stable relationship, too, which is a nice change for depictions of unconventional romantic arrangements in any kind of fiction. Sure, weaknesses in their relationships are exploited as part of the plot, but they’re not shown as inherent flaws of a four-person relationship, just as the kind of problems that people run into occasionally.
I find Lifelode a very comforting book, something to wrap up in on a lazy afternoon. It’s about ordinary people, mostly, who only see huge world-changing events from the edges, and I love spending time in their world.