Again it is I Have Read not I am Reading……
I have posted this quote because you need to bear in mind that these are my opinions on the books I have read. You might read them in a different frame of mind and have a different take on the story line and writing, and, anyway, we all have our favourite types of literature and story line. In light of this I prefer to not give full blow by blow reviews but rather an overview of the book and a general commentary
The Elephant in the Room
I really enjoyed the writing in this book, this is Maya Fowlers’ first novel. She has a wonderful way with words and is able to create wonderfully lasting images. She is obviously very familiar with the places she writes about as they have a sensitivity which only comes with having been there and emotionally invested in the location.
Her description of the Karoo, where they go to live with her maternal Grandmother for a while, will resonate with anyone familiar to having stood there in the wide open space with the wind racing across the boundless planes.
“It’s windy and sand gets stuck in my teeth. I thought it would be a good idea to come out here to my lonely hill, but even the sheep are tucking their heads into their woollen armpits.”
This is a story of a girl who is struggling to find her identity but, is undermined by her extremely strong Grandmother who is the ‘head’ of the family. Lilly has two younger sisters and a rather spineless mother. It is a coming of age story in which the main character loses her way.
It is not a happy story. And deals with the dark despair of someone with an eating disorder. I have a daughter recovering from Bulimia – they never really recover, just keep it in check, it is like treading on a tightrope, you can fall at any moment. It was an emotional wake up call for me. I found I could better understand what she was dealing with and how tenuous her hold on normal behaviour was as Maya really deals with the daily struggle to eat or not eat.
The book only focuses on the development and subsequent plunge into the grip of the disorder in the last third. If you don’t mind reading sad, helpless, dark thoughts I would recommend it as it beautifully, sensitively written book.
It is a very accomplished first novel and I look forward to reading her next work.
A Walk Across the Sun
A light thriller and an horrific expose on Child Trafficking, this is a good gripping read. It serves to educate the reader into how efficient the rings that deal in Human Trafficking are, and how wide spread it is.
The story is primarily about two Indian sisters who are the victims of the Tsunami on the Coromandel coast of India. They loose their entire family and try to find their way back to their boarding school where they will find safety. Unfortunately they fall into the hands of an unscrupulous truck driver who proceeds to sell they to a Brothel Keeper……………and so the tale begins.
There is an American lawyer who is married to an Indian woman, and who through certain circumstances (there is a sub plot here) goes India to do volunteer work for one of the Societies who fight Human Trafficking in Mumbai.
The two stories intersect with gripping twists and turns.
A good, informative read.
Another début novel, and, another wonderful read. I am fascinated by India and love reading about it, the people, the history, the tragedy and the resilient nature of its’ peoples.
One of the great tragedies of independence was Partition and the terrible outpouring of hate, mistrust and barbarity that followed.
The story is told by the deceased father of two boys who are trying to find their mother. They were separated from her as they tried to board the fateful train to ‘safety’. On their quest they eventually encounter a Sikh girl who is also trying to escape the brutality and a Muslim doctor. This little ragtag band form a supportive group and head for safety.
This is a well crafted tale that makes you in turn sad, angry and, at last hopeful, with a heightened sense of sympathy for people whose lives were destroyed by the arbitrary drawing of a boundary line.
A well constructed story exposing the way peoples lives are destroyed by political expedience.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jonathan Safran Foer
I decided to put all the hype surrounding this novel out of my mind and, as I had been looking forward to reading from way before it was made into a film but could not get a copy, just read it.
I love the way the book is put together, with images relevant to and relating to the story. When I started it was not easy to read and required concentration to keep the story thread. As I got into it and began to work out who all the characters were and to understand how the tale would begin to unfold I began to relax and enjoy the journey.
A beautifully crafted tale of love, fear, loss, misunderstanding and finally hope and reconciliation.
This is not a book you can read piecemeal as it needs you to be focussed on the sequence of the story threads running through it.
Saving CeeCee Honeycut
A delightful novel. It is like reading Fannie Flagg, Anne Rivers Siddons and Kathryn Stokkert all rolled into one.
It is the story of little CeeCee Honeycut whose mother was a Southern beauty married to a Northerner and desperately depressed and unhappy to be away from her beloved South. CeeCee’s mother dies tragically and she is taken down to Savannah by her mothers aunt. It is in Savannah with its’ languid lifestyle, eccentric women and beauty that CeeCee’s healing begins.
A happy, quick (I read it in a day) read that will leave you with a happy smile on your face and a burning desire to head down South to Savannah.
A Tiny Bit Marvellous
A quick, fun read. I had avoided reading this book as I shy away from ‘celebrity authors’. I tend to think they trade on their celebrity rather than their ability to write well. This book has changed my opinion. Dawn French has a wonderful way with words and, maybe because of her acting abilities (I am a great admirer) can tap into our insecurities and highlight them.
A normal family, Mum, Dad, Daughter and Son each with his or her own hopes, fears, frailties, needs, in fact totally normal people form the focus of the novel. We follow them through their daily interactions and observe the dynamic of family life and interpersonal relationships though each others eyes.
It is a ‘made me laugh’ sort of read, although a friend said she found the vernacular used by the daughter a bit irritating to read, it did not bother me.
Not a literary masterpiece but a light, fun read.
I gave up reading Patricia Cornwell when Kay Scarpetta and Lucy became unbearably predictable and rather irritating. ‘Red Mist’ was touted as a return to the good thrillers Patricia Cornwell started off writing.
Well, I am not so sure, it has a good story line obstructed by so much petty detail about ‘chain of custody’ and forensic protocol that it began to seem like padding to get the book to an acceptable length.
The story starts off well, creating the correct amount of suspense and posing all the right sort of leading questions, but, it then gets caught in a mire of petty procedural detail. I find Lucy and her petulant behaviour irritating.
The story wound up rather quickly after leading you into a rather intriguing, but, pointless dead end. You begin to suspect there is more to all the mysterious deaths and get quite excited at the prospect of something unfolding when …..there it is…….done!
I will not be reading another Patricia Cornwell novel. I love a good thriller, and I must say to be thrilled, holding my breath, second guessing the out come is all part of the joy of reading this genre.
So that you will not think I am totally biased I am adding a link to a very good website called Goodreads. I often use it when looking for ‘good reads’
What I am reading at the moment……….
Kiran Desai’s ‘The Inheritance of Loss’
so far……………………loving it.