Two in short: Tremain and Laurain

Because the authors’ names rhyme, and I haven’t got a huge amount to say about these novels, despite enjoying them both a lot, here’s a twofer for you: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain This was our book group read, discussed back at the start of the month. It was mostly a hit with our Read More

Blogging about reviewer’s block has ‘released’ me…

Release by Patrick Ness The other day I wrote about my reviewer’s block and how I had a pile of superb books waiting to be reviewed from earlier in the summer. This was one of them… Only the fact that I’d never read Mrs Dalloway blinded me to the power of the first sentence of Read More

Towles’ entrancing second novel…

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Amor Towles’ debut novel Rules of Civility (reviewed here) was one of the best books I read in 2011. Although Towles graduated in English back in the late 1980s, he worked as an investment professional for over twenty years before publishing his first novel. This book was a Read More

Pitch: The Time Bandits in Hawaii?

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig Nix Song lives on a tall ship with her father and small band of fiercely loyal crew, refugees from time. Captain Slate is able to ‘navigate’ the ship through time to any where, but only if he has a true and dated map – and each map only Read More

784 pages – Was it worth taking the time to read…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt It’s very likely that had our bookgroup not picked this novel, that The Goldfinch would have stayed on my shelves, unread, (beside Wolf Hall and The Luminaries), for much longer. I had to read it (well, I could have cribbed notes but didn’t), but I’m so glad I took the time Read More

The loneliness of genteel old age…

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor This is only the second novel by Elizabeth Taylor that I have read, the first was In a Summer Season (reviewed here), but thanks to her popularity amongst many of my blogging friends I feel as if I know her works better than I do in reality. Read More

“The extraordinary happens every day”

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness Having wept like a baby during reading Ness’s last crossover novel, A Monster Calls (my review here) – a story about a young boy coming to terms with love, death and grief, and incorporating magical elements and fables, The Crane Wife – his first full adult novel seems a natural progression. The Crane Read More

Gone Girl meets The Secret History – not quite, but a good try

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight When a novel sets itself up on the front cover to be compared to Gone Girl (my review here), and in other places I’ve seen it compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, it raises the bar rather high… Kate is a hard-working lawyer and single mum to teenage daughter Amelia, Read More

‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood’…

The Almost Lizard by James Higgerson I’m twenty-one years old today, and once I’ve finished this little introduction I’m going to kill myself. … Not many can spend their final few weeks on this earth writing their autobiography, a to-the-minute summary of all that has occurred within their lifespan. But most of us leave this Read More

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Republished back into my blog’s timeline from my old blog., combined  2012 posts from author event and book review… World Book Night 2012 in Abingdon with Rachel Joyce I spent the evening of World Book Night at Abingdon Library in the company of Rachel Joyce – the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I Read More

When friendship is put to the test …

The Spare Room by Helen Garner Helen’s old friend Nicola is coming to stay with her for three weeks while she undergoes an alternative cancer treatment – everything is ready for her. When Nicola arrives, it’s immediately clear that she’s in a really bad state and that even though she won’t admit it, she hasn’t Read More

The Pets by Bragi Olafsson

Last year I read some Halldor Laxness, and found the Icelandic humour distinctly hard to get. This contemporary novel by Bragi Olafsson (formerly in the Sugarcubes with Björk) was much less oblique, but despite its relative brevity took some time to get going. When it did though, it became the stuff of pure farce which Read More