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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rachel Joyce - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Man Booker Longlist
This is a stunning book. One of those that you want to put down and think about. One you want to never end.
This is the story of an ordinary hero, an unlikely hero, a 65 year old vaguely unhappy man, who one day does an extraordinary thing. He decides on a whim to deliver his letter to a dying colleague by hand. However he decides to walk there from KIngsbridge, Devon to Berwick in Scotland.
It is an extraordinary journey, beautifully written and observed as Harold interacts with his environment,  his body, and the assortment of people he meets.
Left at home his wife Maureen has also a learning process to go through.
This book is beautifully written, funny, wry, sad and uplifting, it would make a superb reading group book, it explores the whole gamut of the human psyche and I think it just could be a winner|!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Kathy Reichs is true to form with this forensic thriller. It is very gruesome and sad but having said that some of the issues within this book I think would make it a very good reading group read.
It is very difficult to review this book without giving spoilers. What I can say is what begins as an investigation into the deaths of a number of newborn babies then morphs into something else entirely.
I found her travels to the far north of Canda fascinating, quite a different perspective to that we may have here in the UK.
I also was pemused once more by some Canadianisms of Americanisms and had to resort to the internet! Occassionally she does things that I feel are pushing the bounds of possibility. If she respects the police why not use them rather than going gung ho and putting her own life constantly in danger but then that's just me.
However, I could not put it down and finished it over a weekend. For a fast paced thriller I thoroughtly recommend it

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hilary Mantel - Bring up the Bodies

Having confirmed my shallowness with my review of WOLF HALL see below, but wanting to review as many of the Man Booker 2012 longlist as I can, I decided to begin with this once again large tome.
Well, I absolutely loved it! Am I now less shallow? This book deals with the downfall of Anne Boleyn, so perhaps I found the subject matter was more enlivening as I certainly could not put the book down.
I got used to the 'he said's and to be fair where it was ambiguous it was emphasised that it was Cromwell speaking.
I also 'got' the subtlety of us, the reader, extracting what might or might not be motivating Cromwell. Revenge on the whole, I thought. It was also interesting to contemplate the descriptions that were left out and times when he was absent from the drama.
A great novel, but can she win two years in a row?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Donna Leon - Beastly Things

I had been bemoaning that Donna's books had been getting thinner and I am a big fan. Then along comes this absolute corker.
It is fantastic, we continue to have the story arc of Brunetti's family, and recipes and prosecco but here again she investigates the dark underbelly of Italy and Venice in paticular. This time it is the meat trade and I have to say that reading this is enough to make you a vegetarian!
Also it is as though her writing has gone up a gear it is a delight to read. Who said crime could not be literary?
It would make a good reading group book due to the subject matter of meat and the potitical/institutional aspects of Italy that are bound to spark debate. Could it, does it happen in the UK?
It will be a long time before I have a burger.....

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Charles Todd - Ian Rutledge Series

I have been rather quiet lately as I have been working my way through this excellent series of books. Thank you to the ladies of Charminster Library for tipping me off to the series!  So I have worked my way through these. They have an interesting premise, imagine a detective coming back from the First World War, shell shocked and hearing the voice of the Scottish Sergeant he executed for disobeying a direct order, in his head. This literary device allows Inspector Rutledge to have conversations about the plot without introducing a wealth of new characters. It works very well, and the writers, a mother and son team, have an excellent sense of place considering that they are from the US. If you enjoy good old fashioned Christie-esque crime then this is a great find.