My gosh: mid-year already!
Periodically I read an unforgettable book. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is such a book. It’s the story of a 24 year old marriage. Lotto and Mathilde, tall, glamorous, incandescent with each other. For me, Mathilde was the more interesting character. In part one, Fates, we learn about Lotto. Everything. And Mathilde, cool, iceberg wife who makes life run effortlessly. But in part two, Furies, we really find out about Mathilde and learn that the submerged part of the iceberg is a cauldron of boiling fury. A powerful and compelling tale that left me murmuring ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold.’
Unsettled Ground – Claire Fuller. A much anticipated read, which did not disappoint. A story of life on the fringes of society. Twins, living in rural England, dependent upon their manipulative mother, who dies; her death uncovers secrets. The title is apt: a very unsettling book indeed but an excellent read. Recommended.
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff. The story of a contemporary American marriage, written in an almost feverish, rapid style that hurricanes you away, even when you mutter: enough, already, but you read on. Can we ever really know our partners? Apparently not. Not to be missed.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder – T A Willberg. A quirky sort-of Fantasy whodunnit, set in 1950s London. Ultimately we find out who did the deadly deed and the motive. An okay read, but I think it will miss the target for Fantasy fans, and probably irritate crime fans. A cross-genre novel is a tricky thing to tackle successfully.
Expectation – Anna Hope . Whilst the novel is not in the Chick Lit category, its squarely in the Women’s Fiction section. Love, motherhood, marriage, friendship, betrayal, children (or lack thereof), modern life in 21st century London. Three young women learn that expectations seldom come to fruition. That’s life, ladies.
Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit – P G Wodehouse . Short story collection. A retro comic tonic. A sparkling collection of stories, set in 1920’s/30s Britain. The unflappable and inimitable Jeeves; exasperated relatives v.s. young men filled with high spirits (& alcohol) and yearning hearts. If you’ ve never read PGW, one of the greatest comic writers in the English language, do yourself a favour, and dive in. Bon Voyage, pip-pip and enjoy the fun.
Sovietstan – Erika Fatland . A Journey through Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The collapse of the Soviet Union was final by late 1991, leaving the above mentioned states free to form their own destinies. Which they did. None of them successfully, landing up in a swamp of corruption, autocracy and dictatorships by 2014, when the intrepid Norwegian writer travelled through the area. Central Asia has been inhabited by nomads for centuries, so communist ideology, collectivism and a blind switch to agriculture, didn’t work well for the land or its people. A fascinating account of an area about which I knew very little. Travel fans, and those interested in geopolitics will enjoy the book. I know I did.