Permafrost

c374bef93dbbe70596f57397767416341674141_v5

Read 21/02/2021-26/02/2021

Rating 5 stars

Permafrost is the first novel by Catalan poet Eva Baltasar. It’s a thing of beauty, visceral and uncompromising. It’s about depression, and being cared about but not loved; it’s the story of someone who tries not to let others in because being self-contained is safer. It’s also deeply, dryly funny.

Continue reading

Vernon Subutex 3

Read 14/02/2021-21/02/2021

Rating 4 stars

The final installment in Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex trilogy draws together threads from the previous books and has characters zigzagging into one another’s lives, turned there by coincidence and kismet.

Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation: from Wolfe Island to The Mirror and the Light

It’s time for March’s Six Degrees of Separation. I’m a day late. I chose booking a holiday and spending the afternoon with multiple Anthony Gormleys at Crosby Beach over building a book chain yesterday. Head over to Books Are My Favourite And Best to find out more about this monthly challenge.

Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar is the starting book this month. Continue reading

Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs

1908276649.01._sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 02/08/2019-08/08/2019

Rating 5 stars

Read for both the 20 Books of Summer readathon and Women in Translation Month.

Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs is Lina Wolff’s debut novel. Translated from the Swedish by Frank Perry, it’s a tale set in Spain that follows the narrator’s teenage encounter with a short story writer whose mission is to reveal the disparity between the binary genders of male and female and how meaningless the word love can be.

The women in this novel are strong, independent, resilient and resourceful. They take no shit from the men who drift in and out of their lives. None of them is entirely likeable but all of them are compelling as characters. I was instantly gripped by the world Wolff has created and wanted to do nothing but read this book and hang everything else I was supposed to be using my time for. Continue reading

Twenty Books of Summer readathon

image

I have 149 books that I own on my to read list. 78 of those are physical books that teeter in a pair of piles in front of one of my bookcases. When I read that Sandra (A Corner of Cornwall) and Paula (Book Jotter) are doing the 20 Books of Summer readathon hosted at Cathy’s blog 746 Books (I thought my to read pile was bad!), I decided this was the thing that I needed to focus my mind and get 20 of those books read. Continue reading

Never Any End to Paris

0099587467-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 17/07/2017-20/07/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room Read Around the World Challenge: Spain

The Enrique Vila-Matas of Never Any End to Paris, who both is and isn’t the novelist Enrique Vila-Matas, is convinced that he grows to resemble Ernest Hemingway more every day. Nobody else agrees with him, least of all his wife, most of all the organisers of a Hemingway Lookalike contest in Key West. Like the novelist, the book’s Vila-Matas has been obsessed with Hemingway since he read A Moveable Feast as a teenager. In his 20s, he moved to Paris to try to absorb some of what inspired Hemingway. Never Any End to Paris is Vila-Matas looking back on those youthful days. Continue reading

The Dove’s Necklace

0715645862-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 01/06/2017-18/06/2017

Rating: 4 stars

I don’t think I once fully understood what was going on in The Dove’s Necklace, but I can’t say I didn’t have fair warning. The opening sentence of the first part of the book begins:

The only thing you can know for certain in this entire book is where the body was found …

The body, that of a naked woman, is discovered in an alley known as the Lane of Many Heads. It’s the alley itself that narrates the story, introducing the main characters and commenting on their lives. Continue reading

Hot Milk

0241146542-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 02/10/2016-04/10/2016

Rating: 3 stars

I’d read a couple of reviews of this book because of its longlisting for the Booker. When it was shortlisted, I decided to read it. I liked its dreamlike nature. The way Sofia retreated from reality in her role as carer to her mother. The way, in the Almerían heat, she cracked and burned until a different Sofia emerged. The way she embraced boldness and allowed herself to be set free from responsibility by the doctor she had brought her mother to see. Continue reading