Book review: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Wednesday, December 23, 2020 Permalink

When Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Man Booker Prize I’d not heard of it. That (on the other hand) is not unheard of because I rarely read books featured on international literary prize lists. It was made more memorable for me because I joked that Stuart reminded me very much of Australian (dislodged from NZ) author RWR McDonald and we joked about it on Twitter.

I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy Shuggie Bain. I’m not a fan of weighty sagas about poverty and the plight of the working man. Particularly in that bleak bread, dripping and beer after a day of toiling in the mines way.

And initially I struggled a little with Shuggie. Well, not Shuggie himself but the book. There was no doubt however, it’s brilliantly written. But Shuggie’s story grew on me and Stuart’s writing enchanted me.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saturday, March 7, 2020 Permalink

Apparently Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin appeared on several ‘books to look out for in 2020’ type listings prior to its release last month.

I’ve mentioned before I never read other reviews before I’ve written my own and rarely (even after that) check out feedback on Goodreads (or similar).

In this case however—on closing the last page—I did mark it off as ‘read’ on Goodreads and scrolled down to see what others were saying. Because I was, and still am, kinda torn.

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four-stars

Book review: The Confession by Jessie Burton

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Permalink

I’ve not read any of Jessie Burton’s books before, but the fact her second novel was called, The Muse, doesn’t surprise me as her latest, The Confession is very much centred around creativity, control and passion.

One of the main characters in the book, although not one of our narrators, is an author, known for her beautiful poetic and poignant prose… laden with depth and meaning, and Burton effortlessly manages to reflect this.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Monday, May 13, 2019 Permalink

I have to admit to being kinda vexed by this book. I’d normally shy away from a book set in the mid 1800s… not being a fan of historical fiction ‘n’ all. But something about the book must have appealed for me to have requested it and the blurb does set the scene for a creepy but intriguing tale.

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three-stars

Book review: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 Permalink

There’s something different about this book. It’s certainly enjoyable. In fact, at several points I assumed it was going to go down a certain route and was surprised. Again and again. Not by the twists as such but by the author (Megan Abbott’s) decisions to not head in an obvious direction and her ability to make her characters nice and not-so-nice at the same time.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Saturday, September 2, 2017 Permalink

This will sound weird (and I know that’s never stopped me before) but there was something about: the title of this book, its cover and name of the author which made me think I was about to embark on Nordic Noir. And I was a little worried as not all books I’ve read which have been popular in their country of origin have translated as I’d hoped. (And I guess the same can be said when a great TV show is remade in English and into something a little more mainstream.)

However… all of those weird prejudices aside, this book was very very different to whatever it was I’d imagined and was – most certainly – an excellent read.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Last Photograph by Emma Chapman

Monday, August 22, 2016 Permalink

Regular visitors to my blog will most certainly have realised that I’m an unadventurous reader. I stick to my favourite genre of mysteries / thriller / suspense / crime fiction, occasionally tip-toeing into more lofty ‘literary fiction’… but try to stay away from other genres which I suspect I won’t do any justice. Like historical fiction.

And although we’re (only) flashing back to the 1960s here, I suspect I requested Emma Chapman’s The Last Photograph because I was attracted the blurb, liking: that it’s partially set in the ‘now’; and that it’s steeped in the notions of regret and redemption.

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four-half-stars

Book review: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Sunday, August 14, 2016 Permalink

Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me arrived at the top of my reading pile with perfect timing. Although I have no interest in the Olympics, it’s fairly much impossible to ignore the associate hype and media coverage.

So a book centred around a gymnast – oft described by her parents as extraordinary (and more!) – and her family and supporters’ push for her success was an apt reading choice.

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four-stars