I very much enjoyed Days of Innocence and Wonder by Lucy Treloar. It was unexpected in some ways. The backcover blurb made it sound like the kind of mystery I like to read, but it was deeper and more thought-provoking than I expected. A well-told story of loss, grief and guilt and what happens if they’re left to fester.
There was a lot I liked about Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts. I’m tempted to say it’s a bit of a departure from my usual crime fiction and thriller reading, but in all honesty a lot of my favourite books are general or literary fiction, so I probably need to stop with the ‘I only read crime fiction’ mantra.
I very much liked our lead Matt, who’s in a mental health in-patient facility. We learn it’s his third time and as a result it probably doesn’t need to be said, but nevertheless this book comes with a big trigger warning relating to mental illness and self-harm.
I probably should start this review by confessing that I haven’t read the much-lauded The Book Thief (regular readers of my reviews will know how I feel about historical fiction!). I did see the movie however and yes, know it’s not the same thing, though it did give me a sense of the book’s themes.
I was happy to receive an advance copy of Markus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay, but it wasn’t until I read this interview with him the weekend before its release that I REALLY wanted to read this book which was 13 years in the making.
And I was most certainly not disappointed.
The first part of this book took my breath away. I found myself marking paragraphs and sentences that leapt out at me, folding over page after page. That did slow down and whether I became inured to David Free’s prose or his writing reduced to a (still amazing, but) low simmer, I’m not sure but I was initially mesmerised.
I somehow missed Anna Spargo-Ryan’s 2016 debut novel, The Paper House. I had requested it and felt mildly insulted when it didn’t arrive but – despite the praise it received – my apathy paired with my to-be-read (TBR) pile was (and still is) such that I really don’t get to read anything other than the books I receive for review.
Very happily however, I received her second novel, The Gulf, and was very impressed by the Aussie author. In fact I was enchanted by this book, which offers readers a satisfying blend of bleak hopelessness gently mixed with a sense of whimsy or wistfulness.