Today, just a couple of links to my latest reviews for Shiny New Books. Having been able to read more during furlough – last day today, back to school on Monday (looking forward to that and dreading it at the same time – but I have had my first jab, so will feel safer as the days go by!). I’ve a lot of reviews to come for Shiny too if only I can get writing them. Both of the books I’m covering today are written in translation…
A Long Way From Douala by Max Lobe
Translated by Ros Schwartz
My first Cameroonian novel, This book is part road-trip, part coming of age story, but fully eye-opening to the world for teenaged narrator Jean, who has set off with his ‘brother-from-another-mother’ Simon from Douala towards Nigeria to try to bring his brother Roger, who dreamed of football and escape to Europe, home. Despite family dramas of their father dying and their mother taking it out on Roger, and the dangers of the trip, whom to bribe, going into Boko Haram country, young Cameroonian author Max Lobe tells the tale with a light touch, bringing the country to life in vivid colour. Schwartz’s translation retains some of the ‘Camfranglais’ slang, which adds to the vibrancy. I loved this story and didn’t want it to end, and don’t you just love that cover!
Read my full Shiny review HERE.
See also Eleanor’s review.
Max Lobe, A Long Way From Douala (HopeRoad, 2021). 185 pp., paperback original.
BUY at Blackwell’s via my affiliate link (free UK P&P)
Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz
Translated by Rachel Ward
It’s always a huge relief when you come into a crime series not at the beginning and the book not only stands alone, but makes you want to read all the rest. This is exactly the case with Buchholz’s Hotel Cartagena, which is the ninth Chastity Riley book, fourth to be translated into English. Chastity is a very confident and sassy state prosecutor based in Hamburg. As the novel begins, she is at a retired cop’s birthday party in a penthouse hotel bar along with a group of police colleagues, and has just cut her finger badly, as a group of armed gunmen take control and hold everyone hostage. The cut on her finger is important as it gets infected and she gets increasingly ill from sepsis as the siege goes on.
Flashback sections tell the story of another Hamburger, Henning who has revenge on his mind. At the top of the tower, the tension is sky-high, the dialogue is snappy, and Chastity as our narrator tells it as she sees it. Buchholz has created a wonderful character in Chastity, and devised a really clever plot in homage to Die Hard.
Read my full Shiny review for the blog tour HERE.
This takes my tally of European countries read for the European Reading Challenge 2021 hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader to nine too.
Simone Buchholz, Hotel Cartagena (Orenda, 2021) 276 pp., pbk. BUY at Blackwell’s via my affiliate link (free UK P&P)