A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.
SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ONE INJUSTICE THAT WILL SHATTER THEIR BOND FOREVER. Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to… Continue reading Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler
Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters,… Continue reading Book Review: Oh William! Elizabeth Strout
An introspective young boy, Joseph Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. Living alone in an old house, he reads comics, collects birds’ eggs and plays with his marbles. When, one day, a rag-and-bone man called Treacle Walker appears, exchanging an empty jar of a cure-all medicine and a donkey stone for a… Continue reading Book Review: Treacle Walker, Alan Garner
'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges… Continue reading Book Review: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
This is a story about a life lived in two halves.It's about what happens when real life collides with the world accessed through a screen.It's about where we go when existential threats loom and high-stakes reality claims us back.It's about living in world that contains both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy,… Continue reading Book Review: No One Is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood
The truth lies not in any claim to reality, but in the place where what is real moves beyond our interpretation of it. True art means seeking to capture the unreal.Rachel Cusk Synopsis A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will… Continue reading Book Review: Second Place, Rachel Cusk
The world is not run from where he thinks. Not from border fortresses, not even from Whitehall. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from places he has never imagined; from Lisbon, from where the ships with sails of silk drift west and are burned up in the sun. Not from the castle walls,… Continue reading Book Review: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
“Rain was the natural state of Glasgow. It kept the grass green and the people pale and bronchial.” I have been delaying reviewing this book for a while, wanting to let it dwell in my mind for some time before putting my thoughts down... and then life got in the way - as did new… Continue reading Book Review: Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart
“The only place I went wrong, he writes, was expecting things to be perfect. Abruptly, he signals for a turn, and when the light changes he heads east instead of continuing north.” After reading a number of heavily plot driven books this year, Redhead was a definite change of pace for me. I'd not read… Continue reading Book Review: The Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler
“I don't need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like... happens.” I have been holding fire on reviewing this book for a few weeks because it is a - a difficult, problematic novel in my view. A novel which is almost good, almost dealt with… Continue reading Book Review: Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid
So this year's Man Booker has been announced and comprises: Diane Cook (USA) The New Wilderness (Oneworld Publications)Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber)Avni Doshi (USA) Burnt Sugar (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)Gabriel Krauze (UK) Who They Was (4th Estate, HarperCollins)Hilary Mantel (UK) The Mirror & The Light (4th Estate, HarperCollins)Colum McCann (Ireland/USA) Apeirogon (Bloomsbury Publishing) Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia/USA) The Shadow King (Canongate Books)Kiley Reid (USA) Such a Fun Age (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)Brandon Taylor (USA) Real Life (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing) Anne… Continue reading The Man Booker Longlist, 2020
For the sisters & the sistas & the sistahs & the sistren & the women & the womxn & the wimmin & the womyn & our brethren & our bredrin & our brothers & our bruvs & our men & our mandem & the LGBTQI+ members of the human family
This is the sort of novel I feel the need to reach for metaphor to describe, tired and cliched metaphors at that: it is a roller coaster, a kaleidoscope, a hall of mirrors, shifting sands.... It is dazzling - but being dazzled is not always the most comfortable experience!
What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
I have sat on this book for a while since finishing reading it - partially as a result of workload; mainly because it, like The Heart's Invisible Furies and many others, is a book that deserved some time to settle and be absorbed before launching into a review. The novel revolves around a single character,… Continue reading 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, Elif Shafak
Disclaimer: Received from NetGalley and the publisher, Penguin, in exchange for an honest review. There are some novels which flow fluidly like a river. Others are curved and twisted. Others are very linear taking a route from inciting incident to resolution without a deviation. Others are shaped like a tree, branching and dividing but never… Continue reading The Man Who Saw Everything, Deborah Levy
Lanny Greentree, you remind me of me.
Next up, from the Women's Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi's Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel - a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend's read - and remarkably effective in the… Continue reading My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
Normal People. Are people normal? I don't think so. I think we are weird and strange and contradictory and self-contradictory and life primarily in delusions and bubbles of pretense and make-believe. But maybe that's me! "Normal" seems like a slur... So the point is, I'm not entirely sure what drew me to this book: it… Continue reading Normal People, Sally Rooney
"Let me sing to you, about how creatures become other things" I was brought up - and still live - very much in the countryside. A safe, British countryside. I know my oak from my elm for my yew. I am currently harvesting apples and blackberries from the garden, looking forward to the walnuts being… Continue reading The Overstory, Richard Powers
With two stories in the news today - Safir Boular, at 18, being the youngest girl to be convicted of terrorism offences; and Alia Ghanem speaking of her son. Osama bin Laden - about terrorism and the legal system and family, the importance and relevance of a book like Home Fire is painfully apparent. The… Continue reading Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie
This is one of the most unusual and beautiful books I've read for a while. Hard to define. Difficult to keep track of people. But beautiful and lyrical. Radio 4 do a slot of "slow radio" sometimes and this book reminds me of that. And of my childhood. And of a familiarity with the country… Continue reading Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor
Authenticity is often what we look for in a book. Is the setting authentic? Are my characters authentic? Is my voice authentic? Is my lexis authentic? It doesn't take much sometimes to pull a reader from a novel and inauthenticity can do it. I've still got concerns about the use of the f-word in Hilary… Continue reading His Bloody Project,Graeme Macrae Burnet