Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mar 2014 Retrospective

What I read in March 2014:

Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy ****
Thoroughly enjoyed this! Reminded me of ‘The Accidental’ by Ali Smith with the central character a catalyst for change within an utterly dysfunctional family unit, but told with a lighter touch, like Barbara Trapido (or Anne Fine/Fay Weldon, without the sharp edge).

Fremont by Elizabeth Reeder ***(3.5)
A pleasant, sweeping family saga with hints of ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel.  The characters were too easily explained by their geography for my taste, but still interesting.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld ****
Two interlocking stories, present & past unravel.  The contemporary story was not very convincing to me, but the story of Jake Whyte’s past up to the present point was far more interesting, and cleverly constructed (unravelling backwards).

APRIL SO FAR…

  • Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay ***(3.5)
    Started well & nicely written, but tailed off significantly in the second half.  Two mysteries are presented but neither are resolved.  I don’t mind loose ends in a story but this one just wandered off in a completely different direction (which I didn’t find very interesting).
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Feb 2014 Retrospective

What I read in February 2014:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson *****
How life balances on pinpoint moments, and what happens when circumstances sway one way or the other; the ripple effect.  Wonderful evocation of period & sharp characterisation. My book of the year so far.

Andrew’s Brain by E.L.Doctorow ****
Not at all what I expected & I think not being targeted to the right market. Very readable, very accessible storyline (it’s a love story with a bit of a mystery) whereas the cover blurb makes it seem emotionally disengaged and academic/distant.

The Devil I Know by Claire Kilroy ***(3.5)
 A fairly entertaining read, but ultimately not quite as clever or amusing as I had hoped.

 

Jan 2014 Retrospective

What I read in January 2014:

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud ***(3.5)
Really enjoyed the back-story and characterisation but was a little disappointed when the carefully constructed, mounting tension tailed off to something of a damp squib.

Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell ****
Quiet, subtle, funny, unexpectedly touching.