An undeniably beautiful and lyrical piece of science fiction poetry but, for me, the beauty of the language and the translation came at the expense of vivid charaterisations; there was an ephemeralness about the characters, a transparency, that was perhaps deliberate - how small we are in the vastness of space and time and Light is, after all, a familiar science-fiction trope - but left me wanting more of the humans.
On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below 'The Paper Palace'—her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her… Continue reading Book Review: The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Helller
In 1963, in a Siberian prison, former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov has mastered what it takes to survive: the right connections to the guards for access to food and cigarettes, the right pair of warm boots, and the right attitude toward the small pleasures of life so he won't go insane. But one day, all… Continue reading Book Review: The Half-Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley
Welcome to Charon’s Crossing.The tea is hot, the scones are fresh and the dead are just passing through.When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own sparsely-attended funeral, Wallace is outraged. But he begins to suspect she’s right, and he is in fact dead. Then when Hugo, owner of a most peculiar tea shop,… Continue reading Book Review: Under the Whispering Door, T. J. Klune
Come home, if you remember.The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse - Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French… Continue reading Book Review: The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley
Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully,… Continue reading Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey
When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder's mate), his family is sceptical.But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher's life has… Continue reading Book Review: The Editor’s Wife, Clare Chambers
With a month before publication date and notices about it throughout my local Waterstones, it is a fitting moment to thank Faber & Faber and Sally Rooney for giving me a sneak peek at Chapter One of the eagerly anticipated Beautiful World, Where Are You? Cover Firstly, I love the colours here! The blue and… Continue reading ARC Sneak Peek: Beautiful World, Where Are You? Sally Rooney
“But, you know, that feeling? When you wake up in the morning and you have somebody to think about? Somewhere for hope to go? It's good. Even when it's bad, it's good.” Synopsis For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love… Continue reading Book Review: One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston
Small pleasures – the first cigarette of the day; a glass of sherry before Sunday lunch; a bar of chocolate parcelled out to last a week; a newly published library book, still pristine and untouched by other hands; the first hyacinths of spring; a neatly folded pile of ironing, smelling of summer; the garden under… Continue reading Book Review: Small Pleasures, Clare Chambers
“They don’t disappear, the dead. It’d be easier if they did. I can see her so clearly. If she walked up those steps now, part of me wouldn’t be surprised. She was such a vivid person.” This fifth installment of Robert Galbraith's - yes, we all know it is J. K. Rowling - offers up… Continue reading Book Review: Troubled Blood, Robert Galbraith
It has been an age since I read The Night Circus - so long ago that this blog did not exist - but I remember it as ephemeral, atmospheric, beautiful and moving. So the news this year that Morgenstern was bringing out another novel was huge - huge! So it was downloaded on the day… Continue reading The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern
Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. The list of themes currently runs at 11/9/19 — Books with a Survival Theme11/16/19 — Books by Unread Authors You Want to Read11/23/19 — Books with Fake Love Couples11/30/19 — Books to be read by the… Continue reading Top Five Saturday: Fake Love Couples
There is nothing like a rich and sumptuous historical novel and the cover of Velton's Blackberry and Wild Rose was so beautiful I had high high hopes. Possibly too high. The novel revolves around two women in eighteenth century London, a setting that I am not familiar with: the sixteenth century has been such a… Continue reading Blackberry and Wild Rose, Sonia Velton
It is no secret that I love my fantasy. I cut my reading teeth on fantasy - thank you Tolkien and Eddings and so many others! I love the way that the freedom of a fantasy world can throw a light into the contemporary. I love the sheer fun and spectacle that can come with… Continue reading The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon
Why is it that the words of female sexuality - and of female anatomy - are either rendered taboo or fetishised in our society ? Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Menstruation. Compared to "cock", there is a different quality in these words. A frisson of shock and challenge. And that is a frisson which Broder does not… Continue reading The Pisces, Melissa Broder
I’m not a person with autism any more than I’m a person with lesbianism. I’m lesbian. I’m autistic. When I get a cold, I have a cold; I’m a person with a cold and I want to get rid of it. Medical help appreciated. But being autistic and lesbian—that’s who I am, and I’m not interested in anyone trying to cure me of who I am.
Look what arrived this week: an ARC of Spring, the third in Ali Smith's gorgeous Seasons Tetralogy, following Autumn and Winter. Autumn being hailed as the first post-Brexit novel - and it is so much more transformative and lyrical and funny and tragic than that! - the timing of this novel's release at the end… Continue reading Spring, Ali Smith
Returning to this Book Challenge - I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! - we meet Day 18 and A book you like by an author no longer living. Now, as I've said before, I've had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!
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
Today's challenge is to identify A book that broke your heart. There is only one contender in this category and it is Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls. I have read this novel a dozen times: initially as simply a book for myself; later as a class read for work. I have read it in my head… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!
So excited that an ARC of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden has been dispatched today! Book three of the Winternight Trilogy. I love Vasilisa Petrovna - firey, alien and other - the phoenix dominating that cover. I adore Arden's writing, her Russian folklore, the historical authenticity. And Morozko. And Solovey. It is… Continue reading The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden
I am not a fan of prison drama. Orange Is The New Black? No thank you. Shawshank Redemption? I just don't like the prison setting. It may have something to do with an innate suspicion of large numbers of people being together; it may have something to do with having been a criminal barrister and… Continue reading The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner
"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
Poor Claire North. She brought out The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as I read Kate Atkinson's Life After Life; I pick up Touch just after reading A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. And both times, she comes a slight second in similar and comparable fantasy scenarios. Imagine being able to switch your… Continue reading Touch, Claire North