Monthly Archives: October 2014

September update

Started but not finished:

  • Wreaking by James Scudamoremay go back to this later
  • The New Countess by Fay WeldonI enjoyed the first in this series; the second was a little sillier; the third failed to engage me at all
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dickerhated the style of writing, ridden with cliches, and without any sense of flow. I hope it was just badly translated. Really wanted to read & enjoy this but could not face the thought of sitting through so much unexceptional prose.

Read:

Ace, King, Knave by Maria McCann – 4.5

Wonderful characters and sense of period/place. Thoroughly enjoyed this tale of revenge and redemption beneath the facade of respectability.  The very end didn’t quite work for me, but in retrospect did give further food for thought.  Very similar in style/feel to Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

The Coincidence Authority by John Ironmonger – 3

On one level, this reminded me of Barbara Trapido, with the far-flung relations, and coincidences which overlap their lives.  But the overt focus on the natural coincidences lessened the impact of the story for me, and the central love story didn’t convince me. Not a bad read, but not the best, either.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault – 3.5

Another book in which I felt the translation lessened my enjoyment, but as it is only a short novel, I was able to read through it.  I love the concept of the relationship built through haiku but did not feel empathy for any of the characters.  The plot was a little contrived and unbelievable, but I was glad I read to the end, which added a different perspective (still a contrivance, but one I felt worked, within the context).

Oct edit:

The Confabulist by Steven Galloway – 4/5

I’ve read a lot of fiction about magicians (The Prestige, Carter Beats the Devil, The Manual of Darkness, to name but a few) so a lot of the background knowledge of the genre wasn’t new to me, but I still found plenty to enjoy.  Although the ‘twist’ (if it was supposed to be such) could be seen coming a mile off, the story is nonetheless far subtler than I first imagined; and the conspiracy theories which emerge are not a ‘selling out’ to mass market thrillerdom but merely a symptom/embodiment of the title’s confabulism.  The author keeps the style of writing simple, so that it does not intrude on the story being told.  All in all, a very good read.

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