Ruby by Cynthia Bond
I’ve always liked to discover books; things I haven’t come across, heard of or even been recommended to me by a friend. And in the days before bookstagram, I used to trawl through the @oprahsbookclub website to try and find those sorts of novels, usually books that had done really well across the pond but hadn’t yet become widely known in good ol’ Blighty.
Ruby was one of those books and I must give you the heads up; it is, in parts, utterly harrowing. The story of Ruby Bell from east Texas, to say she’s been through hell is quite the understatement. She lives at the edge of the town; she hardly exists in a ramshackle hut that her dead father once owned.
We learn how Ruby got here, how she was formed and made, a once beautiful girl who managed to get to New York after a string of horrifying events. Only one person — Ephraim Jennings — truly sees Ruby, for who she was and now is, upon her return to her home town and what develops between them in magical.
Indeed, this is a novel that is laced with magical realism, which have resulted in comparisons to Toni Morrison and also Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But that’s also because Bond is a gifted writer — @oprahsbookclub described her prose as so beautiful you’ll want to spoon it up — and it is hard to believe that this book is a debut.
There were times when I genuinely couldn’t put this one down and others were I had to because it was so tough and overwhelming. Not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination but boy, am I glad I read it. It’s stayed with me ever since. S
Order your copy here.