Yoshie is a young woman whose father recently died in a suicide pact with a woman who wasn’t his wife. She and her mother move out of the family home, to a new neighbourhood, where they try to come to terms with what happened, and start new lives. It is a slow and thoughtful book about grief, growing up, and the healing power of food, relationships, and a sense of community.
The story is told through Rebecca during the week after her Da’s death. We find out that the family had lots of secrets, one of them about the death of her mother years earlier. I loved the way the story is told through Rebecca’s diary like telling, it’s more than a simple mystery to be solved. I was involved with the story from the beginning and had to keep reading to find out the ending, and though it was not the ending I expected with everything neatly tied up, I enjoyed the story very much.
Helen Moran learns of her adopted brother’s suicide and returns to her childhood home to investigate, learning about her family, her brother and herself. This is a strange book, funny, disturbing, uncomfortable. Helen is sensitive, oblivious, well-meaning, disastrous, cringeworthy and compelling.
Caitlin not only covers her work at a crematorium, but also how societies view and deal with death. Although covering a morbid subject it was interesting and engaging.
Maggie O’Farrell is one of my favourite authors, so I was really looking forward to this, her unconventional memoir. Seventeen brushes with death sounds like an awful lot, and it is, but some of them are the sort we all experience. For all that is about her near death experiences, the book is a reflection on life; its tenacity, young people’s carelessness with it, the difficult, the baffling, the beautiful. It is very personal, very relatable, and beautifully written as always.
Black Rock White City is a powerful book about a Serbian couple, living in Melbourne after escaping atrocities in Sarajevo. Though it reveals great ugliness, it is at times intensely beautiful; thoughtful, meaningful, almost hopeful.
I read that The End of Days was like Life After Life, but better. It does have a similar premise, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Life After Life. It is about possibilities; how everything can change in a second, and it imagines various options for a woman’s life if things had been slightly different. It is set largely in Vienna, between and after the wars, and it is interesting to consider this time from a German perspective. I found parts very slow, almost dull, but others profound and moving.
This is a powerful book; not an easy subject, though beautifully written and compelling. It is a memoir of a southern, Black woman, who lost five men in her life. They died because of drugs, accidents and suicide, but their deaths were about more than that; the extraordinary disadvantage of their heritage in Mississippi. Ward’s grief is raw and harsh, not lessening as the years go past, and the questions raised are worth raising, and worth deliberating on, particularly given what has been happening. This is an American story, but black lives matter everywhere.
Set in the 70s, Everything I Never Told You is about a teenaged girl who has just died. Her American born Chinese father, blond mother, older brother and younger sister are left wondering what happened to her. I expected a psychological thriller, but it wasn’t so much about how Lydia died, but how life, love and happiness can so easily get off track. It’s about belonging, ambition, hope, frustration, longing, misunderstanding and the fragility of love and life.
If you like books by John Green this book should be on your list to read next! Nominated for the 2016 Children’s Book Council’s Older Readers Book of the Year Award.
‘It was easier to call it quits.’ This is a powerful statement about teen suicide and John Larkin explores the world we may leave behind if we can but manage to pause. John Larkin’s technique is unique, skilfully merging two possible realities for a potent effect. We are shown the many wonderful opportunities in life that Declan will miss if he succeeds in his attempt to end his life, then the author cleverly twists our perceptions as if Declan’s moment of mental anguish did not allow even the tiniest pause. Continue reading