Astrid’s mother named her Hilary because (when she was born) she had such a sunny disposition. Hilary became Astrid as soon as she was able believing it to be the antithesis of her birth name and almost two decades later, it’s set the scene for the rebellious and unsettled life she’s led since.
I really enjoyed Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things, released in 2015. At the time I suspected the book – which I took fairly literally – was some great metaphor I just didn’t quite understand and it wasn’t until later I noticed others’ reviews labelling it dystopian fiction and I realised I’d been right.
I loved Wood’s writing, which I thought exquisite. I missed her latest release, The Weekend, when it came out but thankfully won a copy recently and probably (now) need to add it (belatedly) to my ‘favourite books for the second half of 2019’ post.
JP Pomare’s Call Me Evie, released in 2018, was set in New Zealand (and Australia) and centred around a young woman with quite a complex ‘before’ and ‘after’ story to share. It didn’t flow quite as seamlessly as I would have liked, but I certainly didn’t find it predictable.
Pomare’s followed his popular debut with another kinda creepy and suspenseful tale that’s more polished and the ‘unknown’ more deftly handled than his debut. There is however a similar theme around identity; and its fragility when our spirit or psyche is threatened.
I’ve cut back on my reading over the last couple of years. Initially it was because of work commitments, but almost a year of unemployment has meant this hasn’t been an issue.
So though I’ve continued to read and review I’ve spent evenings in front of the television rather than in the bath with a book. I loved both television and books when younger and it seems little has changed.
I read and enjoyed Jacqueline Ward’s The Perfect Ten last year. It was Ward’s debut novel and I notice, in my review, I talk about my enthusiasm to read whatever she would next publish.
Thankfully I’ve now had the opportunity to do that and both books are similarly themed – domestic noir. Men behaving badly, though (at the same time) not bastardising all men; and a reminder of the strength women can find when needed.
This book by journalist and Sydneysider Vanessa McCausland came as a bit of a surprise. Its cover is beautiful but implied more whimsy than is on offer in the book. Which is a good thing for me as I struggle with ‘lightness’. It’s a hard book to describe in many ways… there are elements of romance, some meaning-of-life navel gazing and certainly some suspense.
For the first time in… well forever, I contrived a semi final type scenario and have shared:
This book opens with a murder. It’s one of a series by a killer known as the Nine Elms Cannibal. We meet Kate Marshall, a detective on the case, some of her colleagues including her boss Detective Chief Inspector Peter Conway. As I hadn’t really read the backcover blurb properly it came as a surprise then that the usual crisis / climax (ie. Kate’s life threatened by the baddie) happens just after the book kicks off. And the killer is found. Huh?
Of course we then leap forward 15 years to meet Kate in the (not quite) present day. I’ve not read any of Bryndza’s books before so did wonder briefly if Kate had been referenced in another series as the information we receive about the preceding decade and a half is pretty scant, though more is eventually shared.
For several years now I’ve done an annual wrap-up post of the (new release) novels I’ve enjoyed most that year.
For the past couple of years I’ve actually done a ‘first half of the year’ post though usually skip over the ‘second half of the year’ post and go straight to the grand final… bypassing the semi finals completely.
Well not this year. Not only did I write my ‘fave novels released in the first half of 2019‘ post, but I’m following it up with those I’ve enjoyed most in the second half of the year.