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.
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.
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
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
For August’s 6 degrees of separation, we’ve been asked to start with the last book we finished in the month of July. Continue reading
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
It’s the first Saturday in February which means that it’s time for the Six Degrees meme. I’m on time, too. This month we’re starting with Fight Club by Chuck Pahlaniuk. Continue reading
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
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
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