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.
This book starts with a murder scene; the nanny kills her two young charges before attempting to kill herself. What follows is the lead up to the horror, and it is a clever and disturbing look at the struggles of modern parenthood, career, city living, and the fascinating situation of inviting someone into your one to care for your children. I raced through it to the abrupt, but not unsatisfying, end.
I knew from the first page that this would be an entertaining read. The story about a group of residents from an aged facility undergoing a retrofit was both funny and sad. I was disappointed, though, with the investigative part of the story that was slow moving and did not involve much investigating – but I guess that is what you get with a cast of characters that are 90 years+.
Guylain Vignolles lives alone, apart from his goldfish, and hates his job. Each day he gets pleasure from reading aloud, on the train, from pages of books he has rescued. One day he discovers entries from a young woman’s diary, and goes on a quest for love. Set in Paris, with a host of quirky characters, I expected this to be an awful lot sweeter and more heartwarming than I found it. It was rather more coarse, and didn’t deliver on the promises I thought the plot had made, especially about the power of books. It was a quick, and pleasant read, but disappointingly unaffecting.
I started out enjoying this story. It was a fun read. The situations ridiculous but told so matter of factly that you just went with the flow of the story. But by the end it all seemed a bit rushed which empathised the ridiculous and the story became less endearing.
What would you do in the last one hundred days of your life? That is, in part, the premise of this novel by Italian director and first time novelist Fausto Brizzi.
Lucio Battistini is dying- he has made mistakes (for which he still wants to atone), he has sporting goals (as coach of a water polo team), and his father-in-law bakes him donuts every morning for breakfast – all valid reasons to keep on keeping on. Continue reading
Linda Conrad is a famous reclusive author who recognises her sisters killer twelve years after her brutal murder. The case goes unsolved and Linda decides to set a trap for the killer by writing a thriller about the unsolved murder of a young woman.
This is a great psychological thriller full of twists and turns, that will have you questioning till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed Melanie’s debut novel, and highly recommend it.
The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas. At nearly one and a half thousand pages, this was a significant time commitment for a person who reads several books at once, but how well worth it! Such detailed and intricate plotting, such endearing and repellent characters, such breadth of emotion; desperate suffering, sweet joy. This book has it all and I loved it.
This book will become one of my almost universal recommendations. It’s funny, sweet, poignant and moving. Ove is a curmudgeonly old neighbour, barely putting up with those around him, who slowly finds new purpose in his life. There’s nothing new here, and at the end I felt it added up to a bit too much, but A Man Called Ove is an uplifting book about friendship, loyalty, community, belonging and love, and I enjoyed it very much.
The outskirts of Naples in the 1950s was a tough, brutal place to grow up, and growing up is hard enough. My Brilliant Friend is about Elena and Lila growing, changing and trying to find their place in their constrained world. The writing is beautiful; immersive, filled with danger, promise, hope, frustration, envy, longing and a strong sense of place.