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The House of York
Terry Tyler
(The first two chapters)
I don’t remember enjoying a Christmas as much as this one, today, in 2015, as I read through Terry Tyler’s novel, The House of York. I will restrict myself to the first two chapters because I do not want to inform the readers what happens in this breathtakingly fresh, rich and fascinating novel after the first two. I want them to read and enjoy the rest of the novel on their own experience of it.
Why is this novel so extraordinary?
A) Because it does what only some of the greatest novels have done; it conquers Time in a unique way, rising quite above the here and now. It is able to pull out the story from British history, as it were, even though it is set in the contemporary situation.
B) The narrative technique in this novel is a marvel. It has a deceptive simplicity. The first chapter is in first person, but then so is the second in first person though the narrator has changed. In the first chapter you are told the story of Lisa Grey, a young attractive widow (with a son), by Lisa herself. She has the capacity to draw all your sympathy because she is in an unenviable position. But then she is discovered by a rich pleasing man, Elias York, who marries her.
The second chapter takes you into an altogether different situation where the scene changes to the story of Elias’s half-sister, Megan, the second narrator. The names are chosen brilliantly to make you get the feel of the person in question. Megan is quite in the situation of Lisa as she also has a son and has been left by her first husband. But Megan is hardly like Lisa as a person. She wants her son, Rupert, to be the king of the York family business and drowns herself in that effort, not even agreeing to give a son to her second husband, David, whom she likes much more than her first. The perspective from which the story is narrated in the second chapter now changes entirely and our first love, Lisa, now fades into the background. Herein lies the power of the narrator; enter a new narrator and you begin to see everything from the new point of view.
C) The characters in this novel are citizens of the world even though they are traditional, in a sense, to Britain. As an Indian reader, I found it perfectly right for the ways in which Lisa’s father and mother react differently to her decision to marry Elias. I had imagined that only Indians would react in this manner. But Tyler’s fiction captures the scene like one who writes globally because her target is more human nature than social reality. The story is so impacting that it takes you beyond time, place and nationality
D) It is difficult to stop reading once you start. I felt as though I was taken into a past life in which I was a part of what was happening. Tyler knows how not to say everything so that the reader is forced to keep the imagination up and doing.
E) Often theory places showing above telling but here is an example of how the reader can be pulled into the telling. Of course, the use of dialogue is so pronounced that most of the situation is shown. But the telling is also significant here and skillfully blended into the dialogue.
F) Though there is a strong feel of womanly sentiments in this novel, it cannot in any way be described as a woman’s novel alone. In fact, it has been written with the art to draw in male readers. I, for one, was bowled over by this Master Narrator. In the beginning, I thought it would be like Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. But I soon realized that I was wrong. The best writers are never like each other entirely, though earlier writers seem to speak through them.

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