A Spool of Blue Thread is a story of 4 generations of Whitshanks, settled in Baltimore. The story weaves around all the family members and their life, their family dynamics, their closeness and togetherness in times of need, and yet aloofness in day-to-day life to make you wonder. In most parts of the books, it’s Abby who seems like the main protagonist as the author goes inside her head to describe all the present-day moments. Then also there is this house, which seems like a character of the book because almost all the stories are built around it.
My experience reading it
I picked up this book as part of Susegad Book Club without any prior information about it. Now, when I am writing this review I got to know that this book has been nominated for many awards too. It was even shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. But as they say, not every popular book is a good book.
There are so many characters and there are so many backstories. The narration kept switching from one member to another till it covered all the members of the three generations. And that’s the reason I find it so difficult to connect with any character of the book.
I tried to keep finding a central theme of the book. Was wondering all the time if the author is trying to say anything metaphorically which I am not getting. Is the story about Red and Abby, or Denny, or about Junior or Linnie or is it about the house? But till the end, I couldn’t figure it out, and hence I think maybe there is no story at all.
I hoped the end of the book will bind all this disconnected yet connected story beautifully and it would make sense. But the end was abrupt. The whole book is basically a snapshot of the life of an ordinary family in America who is close-knitted but also carries hidden resentments towards each other. Along with the snapshot, the author has added backstories of all the members. And that’s it. That is all it is there in the book.
The reason why I was able to finish this book, even though there is no central storyline, is that the writing style is quite gripping. Whatever different stories are told it was told in such a way that you will want to read and know more about it. And I guess that’s the only reason I gave this book three stars.
I am not going to recommend this book to anyone. However, feel free to pick this up if such kinds of books do interest you.
Ques: Have you read this book? Did you like it? If yes, let me know what I have missed seeing here. I would love to hear different perspectives.