Nora Webster

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Read 12/04/2017-15/04/2017

Rating: 2.5 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge

I didn’t enjoy this book. I was looking forward to it, because I’d enjoyed Brooklyn and Nora Webster is set in the same town, Enniscorthy, that Elly Lacey leaves for Brooklyn. I had no patience with the title character in this companion piece.

There was something lackluster about the writing, almost as though Tóibín was too familiar with the characters and setting, and couldn’t be bothered injecting any passion into the narrative. It felt too safe, steadily going along, describing one woman’s life in the aftermath of her husband’s death. I found my mind wandering as I read. Continue reading

The Miracle Shed

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Read 14/02/2017-19/02/2017

Rating: 3 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Winter Challenge.

My husband bought me this book, before I became his wife. He had read it and liked it, and wanted to share it with me. I didn’t get around to reading it at the time. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because there are always other books making their way to the crest of my book pile, pushing short story collections further down.

MacCann was apparently one to watch when this, his debut work, came out. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t published any other books. He’s been more focused on journalism. I read an article he wrote about being an alumnus of Malcolm Bradbury’s Creative Writing course at UEA. MacCann doesn’t seem to be a satisfied customer.

This collection of stories is filled with outsiders, people who internalise their dissatisfaction with life, or who try to numb it in some way. They are almost abstract as characters. MacCann plunges you straight into the heart of a story, without context or exposition. I felt like a voyeur, given a glimpse of these characters’ lives through a crack in a door, or a moment’s eavesdropping on a conversation. Continue reading

The Glorious Heresies

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Read 05/01/2017-08/01/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Lisa McInerney won the Bailey’s Prize last year with this, her debut novel. I liked the reviews I read on other bookish blogs, so it went high up on my to read list.

It had a slow start. It felt a little so-so, a little studied at first. I didn’t much care for Ryan and his girlfriend Karine, or Jimmy and his mum Maureen, or Ryan’s dad Tony, when they were first introduced.

Georgie, though, was another matter. Continue reading

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

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Read 06/01/2014-20/01/2014

Rating: 4 stars

LibraryThing review

Laurence Sterne‘s convoluted stream of consciousness un-novel and I have history. It’s a book that I kept seeing references to in other works. It was sort of adapted into the film A Cock and Bull Story, about trying to make a film about an impossible book to adapt. Meta!

I first tried to read it when I was in my mid twenties. It irritated me so much that I put it straight back on the shelf after only a few pages.

I tried again in my mid thirties, after I saw A Cock and Bull Story. I wanted to get it so badly.  Continue reading