Sample Saturday – a Sarah Waters trio

Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

This week, all three books are by Sarah Waters. I read The Paying Guests this year and although I didn’t rave about it, it was certainly a light, entertaining read. Waters fans urged me to try some of her other novels, so I’m letting you decide – which one should I read next? Continue reading

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Nantucket by Harrison Young

There were only two things (very, very small things) that I liked about Nantucket by Harrison Young –

1. The house described in the book. I have very fixed and romantic ideas about US East Coast holiday destinations.

2. The fact that the main character’s wife greets guests arriving by plane or ferry with a thermos of gin and tonic. That seems sensible. Continue reading

Once We Were Sisters: A Memoir by Sheila Kohler

There’s a line in Sheila Kohler’s memoir, Once We Were Sisters, that is representative of much of her story – ‘As is so often the case, truth is crueller than fiction.’

Kohler begins with the terrible moment when she discovered that her sister, Maxine, had been killed. Maxine’s husband drove them off a deserted road in Johannesburg – he survived the crash, she did not. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Like Water for Chocolate to Fear of Flying

It’s time for #6degrees. Join in and see which direction your book chain takes you.

This month we begin with Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. Every so often, I see a movie before I read the book and this was one such book (I loved both). Continue reading

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

This book. Wow.

Harrowing. Courageous. Repulsive. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Fascinating.

The Trauma Cleaner, like its star, Sandra Pankhurst, is genre-defying. Author Sarah Krasnostein shadowed Sandra over a number of years, observing her day-to-day activities and recording the story of her life before she was a cleaner. And that story is remarkable – Sandra was a husband and father, drag queen, sex reassignment patient, sex worker, businesswoman, and trophy wife. As a ‘trauma cleaner’, Sandra cleans places others dare not go – homicide, suicide and death scenes; meth labs; homes of hoarders; and places ravaged by water, mould and filth.

Sandra knows her clients as well as they know themselves; she airs out their smells, throws out their weird porn, their photos, their letters, the last traces of their DNA entombed in soaps and toothbrushes. She does not, however, erase these people. She couldn’t. She has experienced their same sorrows. Continue reading

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney – a literary mixtape

It’s had a squillion reviews on Goodreads; it was a re-read for me; and it’s packed with pithy one-liners – all good reasons for a literary mixtape for Jay McInerney’s eighties classic, Bright Lights, Big City.

If you haven’t already read it, get on it – it’s a brilliant snapshot of grief in its denial phase, set against eighties New York with its largesse, its cocaine, its filth, its beautiful people.

4/5 It holds up.

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Saturday Night / Cold Chisel

The night has already turned on that imperceptible pivot where two A.M. changes to six A.M. You know this moment has come and gone, but you are not yet willing to concede that you have crossed the line beyond which all is gratuitous damage and the palsy of unravelled nerve endings. Continue reading