White Teeth

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Read 20/03/2019-27/03/2019

Rating 2 stars

White Teeth is Zadie Smith’s debut novel. It won the Whitbread First Novel award in 2000. It was touted as a new writing for a new millennium.

I tried to read White Teeth once before, because people raved about it, Continue reading

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The Accidental

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Read 17/03/2019-20/03/2019

Rating 3 stars

Prior to The Accidental, I’d read four novels by Ali Smith, all of them belters. The Accidental is her third novel but her sixth published work. It appears on Boxall’s list of the 1001 books you should read before you die (I know, Boxall says you MUST read them, but I don’t think you should put that kind of pressure on people in case they end up resenting you and the books you love). I’m having a small moment of trying to read the female authors on the list, so I borrowed The Accidental from my local library. Continue reading

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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Read 10/03/2019-16/03/2019

Rating 5 stars

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is the story of the intellectual and philosophical engagements with life of two residents of a Parisian apartment building. Renée Michel is the widowed concierge of the building and Paloma Josse the 12 year old daughter of one of its residents. I bought the book a little more than three years ago but haven’t felt any urge to pick it up.

Continue reading

Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

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Read 08/03/2019-10/03/2019

Rating 3 stars

Claudia Rankine’s reflections on American society and the advent of loneliness is a strange and wonderful thing. I have no recollection of why I reserved it at the library other than that I read an article that I can’t now find in which the writer of the article referred to Don’t Let Me Be Lonely in a way that made me want to read it. Continue reading

The Break

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Read 01/03/2019-07/03/2019

Rating 5 stars

The Break is set in the North End area of Winnipeg, Manitoba, an area with a large First Nations and Métis population. It tells the story of a family of Métis women and the abuse they experience and witness at the hands of First Nations, Métis and white men. It’s an incredible debut novel and worthy of the list of accolades at the front of the book. Continue reading

Convenience Store Woman

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Read 28/02/2019

Rating 4 stars

I went to a Japan Foundation event at my local Waterstone’s bookshop last week to hear Sayaka Murata interviewed about her novella Convenience Store Woman. Another author, Yuya Sato, was also interviewed about his novel Dendera.

Both are prize-winning authors in Japan with many titles to their names. As ever, though, few have been translated into English.

I found the event strange but enjoyable. The interviewer seemed more comfortable talking about Sato’s novel and his approach to writing and asking Sato more probing questions than he did engaging with Murata. There was an awkwardness about his interactions with her. Fortunately, the audience seemed more interested in her writing and ideas, so the Q&A made up for the interviewer’s deficiency.

There was also an inbuilt awkwardness about the interview being conducted through a translator, with all its attendant pauses and whispers. The translator did an incredible job, making me realise that my own Japanese skills are far from adequate, never mind good.

I came away wanting to read both books, but more intrigued by the premise of Murata’s.

As luck would have it, when I started to tell my husband about the event when I got home, he revealed that he owns a copy of Convenience Store Woman and it hopped straight to the top of my list of what to read next. Continue reading