Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Published November 5, 2013
Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman and Black is born.
William Bellman has some luck and a lot of work ethic... and then more bad luck (though never with money). He is a business man who makes that his focus. Whatever he is working on at the time gets his full attention and thoughts. I both liked and hated that about him. But when he sees the man in black he becomes obsessed with him- both in trying to find him and thinking about who he is/might be.

When it came to the end of the book- we follow him from the time he is a child and kills the rook to late adulthood- that he wasted the time he could have had with his family by focusing on working. His work seemed to be the center of his life and when tragedy strikes he is thrown even more into business pursuits. It seemed to me that his focus on business rather than family was such a waste. But after being surrounded by so much tragedy he loses the ability to appreciate what he has and he makes "more"- getting more, saving more- his life. It was sad but very interesting and well written.

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