Catch-up

Since my last post, I have read:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – 2.5

Enjoyed this to begin with but after the halfway point began to feel extremely irritated by the excessive misery of the main character, and the unnecessary multitudes of negative things to have happened in his life. I understand that he found it impossible to move past his miserable childhood, but it was a point that could have been made with only one of the unhappy incidents.  Decent writing  but a reasonable concept was ultimately far too over-egged for me.

Crooked Heart – 3.5

A harmless bit of period entertainment; quirky characters, easy to read. Reminded me in style of Elizabeth is Missing.

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide – 3.5

Despite being a very short book, the style seems to be quite overwritten with lots of literary references that don’t especially add to the story. However, more than just being the story of a how a cat found it’s way into somebody’s life, it is quite thought-provoking. There is clearly something missing from the central couple’s life, and the cat’s insinuation reveals more cracks despite the surface cohesion she provides.  The couple do not seem to grasp acceptable boundaries in their interaction with other people, and their unhappiness seems to be pushed to a new level, to the border of madness, by the end of the book.  Despite it’s length there are various ways to interpret this superficially simple story, which makes it more interesting than it at first appears to be.

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell – 4

An entertaining and intelligent read, lots of wordplay and stoic humour.  Based on the premise that the sins of the father will be visited on the next generations, to what degree does a family ‘curse’ become a self-fulfilling prophecy?  The sisters who in this novel are writing their suicide note have grown up in the shadow of their great-grandfather’s knowing and unknowing misdeeds, and a subsequent barrage of family tragedy.  Reminds me not of The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (as cover quote suggests), but of Middlesex – the sense of family history travelling through the generations to the present, and the changing world alongside.

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