Much of what I loved about Sara Baume’s second book (A Line Made By Walking) – namely startling descriptions of nature and being completely immersed in a character’s perspective, no matter how uncomfortable – is evident in her debut, Spill Simmer Falter Wither.
In summary, it’s the story of a loner, Ray, aged fifty-seven, ‘too old for starting over, too young for giving up’, who adopts a mongrel he names One Eye. Ray and One Eye are similar in many ways – both are accustomed to being alone; and both know what it is to be unloved and overlooked.
Sometimes I see the sadness in you, the same sadness that’s in me. It’s in the way you sigh and stare and hang your head. It’s in the way you never wholly let your guard down and take the world I’ve given you for granted. My sadness isn’t a way I feel but a thing trapped inside the walls of my flesh, like a smog. It takes the sheen off everything. It rolls the world in soot. It saps the power from my limbs and presses my back into a stoop. Continue reading
I’m determined to review everything I’ve read, even if it means a measly few words… Continue reading
The Paper House by Anna Spargo-Ryan was everything I expected and didn’t expect.
What I expected was Spargo-Ryan’s musical sentences – follow her on Twitter and you’ll understand what I mean. She combines the pithy and the insightful in such a way that everything she writes is humorous and heartbreaking and true. Continue reading
The Talking Cure by Gillian Straker and Jacqui Winship* Continue reading
I’m hopelessly behind with reviews and I’m fairly sure I won’t have much free time between now and the end of the year… so, catching up with what I liked (or didn’t) about four recent reads. Continue reading
Why, why, why have I left my review of Rhidian Brook’s historical novel, The Aftermath, so long? I had so much to say about it when I finished it in July (although, perhaps too much and that’s why my thoughts were a jumble). Anyway, it’s worth a brief review because it’s a book that I think will be among my favourites for the year. Continue reading
It’s Nonfiction November, this week hosted by Sarah’s Bookshelves. The task? Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.
I have so much fun with this topic (past post, and here), and other bloggers’ book-pairings have resulted in a lot of books being added to my TBR sack.
When relationships get messy, the band does not get back together – Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm and Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Continue reading
In 2014, I completed a year-long 1-second-a-day project. My kids still ask to watch the seven minute result, enjoying the flashes of the everyday and odd sound-grabs. I was reminded of it when I read Dominic Smith’s latest novel, The Electric Hotel.
The novel focuses on Claude Ballard, a pioneer of silent films.
Strangers have always interested me, Claude said. The way they illuminate their own sorrows or joys when you least expect it. It might be half a second of staring into space, then it vanishes. Continue reading
Well that was a bit of fun!
You’ll see Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid popping up on all sorts of ‘best of’ and ‘beach reads’ lists at the end of the year, and I can understand why. It’s the story of the rise of a rock band in the seventies, with a particular focus on singer Daisy Jones. She’s a wild child, beautiful and talented –
So this is a girl that desperately wants to connect. But there’s no one in her life who is truly interested in who she is, especially not her parents. And it really breaks her. But it is also how she grows up to become a icon. Continue reading
Imagine if Jeanette Winterson wrote episodes of Made in Chelsea, and set them in the eighties? You’d have Royals by Emma Forrest.
Royals opens with 18-year-old Steven, preparing for a street party to celebrate the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles. Steven is obsessed with fashion, and dreams of leaving behind his working-class upbringing to become a designer. Steven’s mum is his greatest supporter, and his father is a violent alcoholic.
He was jealous of me and Mum. It upset him that I made her happy. He wanted her to be happy, but he didn’t know how to do it himself. He bought her perfume on her birthday and he hit her. He got her kitchen remodelled, and he hit her. Continue reading