My Father’s Places

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Read 28/04/2019-30/04/2019

Rating 3 stars

My Father’s Places is Aeronwy Thomas’s memoir of growing up in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, on the south coast of Wales. I read it while we were on holiday in Laugharne, which is a beautiful little village on the Tâf estuary.

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Mouthful of Birds

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Read 24/04/2019-28/04/2019

Rating 4 stars

Samanta Schweblin’s collection of short stories, Mouthful of Birds, is as unsettling as her debut novel. Between the pages of this collection, the quotidian is turned on its head and a creeping sense of menace permeates the unremarkable. The underlying message that I picked up was: be careful what you wish for. Continue reading

Spring

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Read 22/04/2019-24/04/2019

Rating 3 stars

The third installment in Ali Smith’s seasons quartet, Spring, begins with Spring herself addressing the reader in all her rude vitality. I’ve been waiting to read this novel since I finished reading Winter, and also worrying about how Smith could possibly maintain the standard set in the first two books in the sequence. I enjoyed it very much. It has a different tone to the previous two books, slightly weary at times, but the central thrust of the story is beautiful. Continue reading

The Faculty of Dreams

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Read 16/04/2019-21/04/2019

Rating 5 stars

As fractured and fragmented as the woman herself, The Faculty of Dreams is an imagining of the unknown life of Valerie Solanas. Sara Stridsberg builds a picture of Solanas through interview transcripts, fevered reminiscences and paeons to her unfulfilled potential. Continue reading

Kitchen (台所)

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Read 11/04/2019-16/04/2019

Rating 5 stars

Kitchen is the first novel by Banana Yoshimoto. She’s written a few more since then, but so far I’ve only read The Lake. I enjoyed that one well enough, but I enjoyed Kitchen a whole lot more. Continue reading

The Bloody Chamber

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Read 04/04/2019-11/04/2019

Rating 4 stars

Angela Carter’s collection of re-imagined folk tales and fables presents tales originally told to the detriment of women as bold stories of female resilience and triumph. Inspired by, among others, Bluebeard, Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, Carter has her heroines rise up against their male oppressors and find freedom. Continue reading

Fever Dream

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Read 04/04/2019

Rating 5 stars

Fever Dream is a short, brilliant book. It’s hard to review without giving things away, but suffice to say that Samanta Schweblin has delivered a masterpiece in suspense writing and translator Megan McDowell has done a cracking job of putting the Spanish into English.
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