The Elementals

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Read 09/07/2017-14/07/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Road Trip Challenge.

When I read in the introduction that Michael McDowell had worked on the scripts for Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, I knew I was in for a good read with The Elementals. I wasn’t disappointed.

Set in the early 1980s, the novel begins with the funeral of an Alabama matriarch, Marian Savage. The Savages are descended from one of the original French families to settle in Alabama, the Sauvages, and have a long connection to a secluded town on the Gulf coast, called Beldame. It’s a place so remote that only the family can bear to visit.

It’s also a place where strange things happen, strange things linked to a Savage family secret. Continue reading

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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Read 02/07/2017-09/07/2017

Rating: 5 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Road Trip Challenge.

Carson McCullers’ debut novel was a surprise. I’d read The Member of the Wedding years ago and loved it. In The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, McCullers captures the lives of people on the edges of society during the Depression. At the heart of the novel is John Singer, a mute who lives in a small unnamed mill town in the US state of Georgia. Continue reading

The Quiet American

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Read 28/06/2017-02/07/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is somber look at the war between France and the Vietminh through the eyes of a British journalist. Fowler has made a life for himself in Saigon, with a girlfriend, a routine, and all the distance he needs from his regular life in England. Into his settled existence comes Pyle, a young and idealistic American working on a clandestine mission under cover of the medical corps. Continue reading

Saga Volumes 1-5

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Read 28/06/2017

Rating: 3 stars

There’s a war raging across the universe, started by hostility between the winged inhabitants of the planet Landfall and the horned residents of its satellite Wreath. To prevent the destruction of their planets, both sides have outsourced the war, so now it is fought everywhere else but Landfall and Wreath.

I borrowed the first five trades of the comic book series Saga from a friend a while ago. Every time I’ve published a review in the interim, he’s been disappointed that it hasn’t been about Saga. We met up recently and I felt bad about not having read it yet, so I brought it up the list. My husband was out on a work do, and the football had replaced Coronation Street, so I binge read all five in one evening. Continue reading

Stay With Me

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Read 26/06/2017-28/06/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Stay With Me is Ayobami Adebayo’s first novel. It was shortlisted for the 2017 Women’s Prize for Fiction. I borrowed it from my local library knowing little about it other than that it is set in Nigeria and its subject matter is full of sadness.

Yejide and Akin marry for love. For each of them, the other is all the person they need. The Yoruba are a polygamous society, but Akin is clear that he wants no wife other than Yejide. Yejide is the daughter of an additional wife, her mother died giving birth, and Yejide has no interest in being one of many. They are well suited and happy together, until Yejide fails to become pregnant and Akin’s family start to put pressure on him to marry again. Continue reading

Station Eleven

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Read 21/06/2017-26/06/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Emily St John Mandel’s dystopian novel Station Eleven was one of the books I received during my year’s subscription to the Willoughby Book Club. I love a good dystopia, and this one is well thought out.

A pandemic known as the Georgian Flu breaks out, killing all but 1% of the world’s population. Within a fortnight, civilisation has collapsed. Continue reading

Sightseeing

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Read 18/06/2017-21/06/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Read as part of the Reader’s Room Read Around the World challenge.

I’m only loosely doing the current challenge on the Reader’s Room. I still have too many books on my pile to commit fully to tracking down books from far flung corners of the world. June is Thailand, though, and I thought some Thai literature might make for good summer reading.

My library has a copy of Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s Sightseeing. This is a collection of short stories set in Thailand, that shines a light on local life, both away from the tourist industry and where it butts up to it. Continue reading