Rating: 4 stars
My Name is Leon is a wonderful, warm, funny, tense, sad and hopeful book. When it appeared on the voting list for the Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge, I read the blurb and didn’t feel anything much for it. The blurb made the book sound twee and patronising. Now that I’ve read it, I can appreciate how difficult it is to try to condense its essence to a paragraph. The book is anything but twee or patronising. Continue reading
Rating: 2.5 stars
I borrowed The Dark Circle from the library for two reasons: it’s shortlisted for this year’s Bailey’s Prize and it was on the list for the Reader’s Room March Madness challenge.
I knew nothing about it, hadn’t read anything by the author before, so went in blind.
Despite thinking I had no expectations, I must have had some because it disappointed me. It wasn’t bad, it just felt like it could have been better. I have no doubt at all that it will be turned into a tv drama. Continue reading
Rating: 5 stars
Beryl Bainbridge’s novel Every Man for Himself, set on the RMS Titanic, is a mystery. The title hints at that mystery. Every man, and woman, that the young narrator, Morgan, encounters is a paradox. They are, seemingly, in it for themselves and don’t give too much away about themselves. Morgan spends a lot of time puzzling over other people’s opaqueness. He is uncertain whether other people are being straight. He admits early on that he isn’t always straight himself. People begin conversations without finishing them properly, leaving Morgan wondering about what they might be hiding. Or what he might be missing in the cryptic way he thinks they communicate. Continue reading
Rating: 4 stars
There but for the is the second book by Ali Smith that I’ve read, and it’s confirmed her as a new favourite author for me.
The book is quite surreal. Miles Garth has locked himself in a spare room belonging to a middle class couple he doesn’t know who live in Greenwich. Continue reading
Rating: 4 stars
I’ve made a return to the Winterhill series. I picked up the first volume on a whim and enjoyed it. I decided I was going to whittle down my TBR before I invested in any more in the series, though, but then last month the author announced that any profits on sales of the book would be donated to the charity Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas. So I bought the next three.
Ghost Requiem is the second book in this pop culture sci-fi series about amnesiac archaeologist Professor Rebecca Winterhill. It opens with Winterhill and her travel mates Madagascar Talifero and Tareku Wamae resting up on a mini cruise on the planet Kalumpah. Continue reading
Rating: 3.5 stars
I’m making my way through Magnus Mills’s back catalogue in a random manner. It suits the structured randomness of his writing.
The Restraint of Beasts was Mills’s debut. I’m finding it difficult to define as a novel. Is it whimsy? Is it satire? Is it crime? Whatever it is, it’s about an Englishman employed in Scotland as a fence layer. Continue reading
Rating: 3 stars
In an unnamed country, alongside an unnamed river, a tented community grows. The first settler is Hen. Then comes the unnamed narrator. A third man, Thomas, joins. He has a fancy octagonal tent. Then Isabella arrives with her red tent and her penchant for swimming naked in the river. It’s a community of individuals who do little but lead a quiet life in their tents alongside the bend in the river. But then a fully formed society arrives, organised and structured, and putting noses out of joint among the existing residents. Continue reading