Two recent reads, both books that I had high hopes for, were just not as snazzerific as I’d expected. Continue reading
On his retirement, my dad did what many new-retirees do – research the family tree. There were no surprises apart from discovering that a child was born out of wedlock, raised by his grandmother as her own, and grew up not knowing that his ‘sister’ was in fact his biological mother. On a spectrum of family scandals, it’s lightweight.
Author Eleanor Anstruther had a lot more material to work with, and the result is her fictionalised family history, A Perfect Explanation. Essentially, Anstruther’s father, Ian, was sold to his Aunt Joan for £500. The story also includes postnatal depression, Christian Science, a kidnapping, much family bitterness, a long legal battle, and a large emerald ring. Continue reading
A few years ago I read a book that was well-written, demanded conversation, and was extraordinarily memorable. And I didn’t recommend it to a single person. Because it was harrowing and devastating and exhausting – you have to be ready for that. Putney by Sofka Zinovieff falls into the same category. Continue reading
It would be a terrific choice for holiday reading – it’s pacey and easy to read.
I imagine when Ng was writing she had a complex plotting diagram on a whiteboard, or lots of sticky notes on her wall – clearly every word has been thought through. Continue reading
I became so involved with Marianne and Connell that I never wanted to leave them. If you haven’t yet read Normal People by Sally Rooney, hop to it.
4.5/5 Half a mark off because I didn’t cry.
Mad World | Tears for Fears
Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was and become part of it. Continue reading
Four elements in The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce stood out (and will leave me feeling fondly toward the story) –
01. It’s a book version of The Castle – local shop owners on Unity Street (somewhere in London) battle a property developer, who wants to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with apartments. Furthermore, Frank, who owns the music shop, only stocks vinyl. As CDs begin to take over the music market, Frank holds out.
“CDs aren’t music. They’re toys.” Continue reading
Good grief. What was that (apart from being the Man Booker International prize winner in 2016)?
Ian McEwan sure does have the corner on the middle-class-white-men-having-existential-crises market, doesn’t he?
In Machines Like Me, McEwan conjures a world not quite like the one we know. It’s the eighties in Britain – the Falklands War has been lost, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Continue reading
I’m prefacing this review by saying that I like Toni Jordan’s writing (and in particular, Addition was a terrific book).
The Fragments is a literary mystery (in every sense of the word). The story alternates between 1930s New York and Brisbane in the 1980s. In New York, celebrated author Inga Karlson dies in a fire and her highly anticipated second book is also burnt, leaving just a few scorched fragments of the manuscript. Continue reading