Category Archives: Levy Andrea

Oops – almost forgot the April Retrospective!

A summary of the books I read in April (which turned out to be an excellent month!), with links to reviews:

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki – 4/5
A surprisingly touching and thought-provoking ‘retrospective’ of a career conman – not at all what I expected.

Small Island by Andrea Levy – 4/5
Re-read as this was the book I chose to give away for World Book Night. A very warm & rewarding story of immigrants settling in London after the war; far more satisfying than the author’s more recent The Long Song.

The Manual of Darkness by Enrique de Heriz – 3.5/5
The story of a magician who must come to terms with a sudden blindness. Lots of interesting aspects.

JOINT BOOK OF THE MONTH: 
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – 4.5/5
Annie and Buster (Child A and Child B) have grown up playing integral roles in their parents’ performance artwork. As young adults they are trying to find their own places in the world; but when their parents suddenly disappear, everything is once more thrown into disarray. Really enjoyed this.

Was by Geoff Ryman – 4/5
The ‘true’ story of a little girl called Dorothy Gale, growing up in a bleak Kansas of the 1870s, and the repercussions over the next century and beyond. Several intertwining stories; a fascinating read.

JOINT BOOK OF THE MONTH: 
Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital – 4.5/5
A small town in the Australian outback (once the home to an enigmatic, charismatic stranger called Oyster, and his followers) holds more secrets than you might imagine. A claustrophobic, and beautifully written story – one of my longest-standing TBRs, it was definitely worth the wait!

The Angel of Brooklyn by Janette Jenkins – 3.5/5
The Angel of Brooklyn is the star of Coney Island until she is whisked away by Lancashire Lad Jonathan, to the small village of Anglezarke. When all the men from the village sign up to do their bit for ‘the Great War’, tensions rise among the women they leave behind. It’s a light-ish read that didn’t quite hit the mark for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – unfinished
I got hold of a paperback copy of this (one of my longest-standing TBRs) in case it was the heft of the hardback copy that was putting me off.  I read & enjoyed a couple of chapters but it has once more been consigned to the future TBR pile.  Just not in the right frame of mind for this one, currently

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Small Island by Andrea Levy

DATE FINISHED: April 6th, 2012

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:  Hortense and Gilbert are a mismatched couple who each have their own reasons for agreeing to marry in haste so that they might leave their small island of Jamaica behind and settle in ‘the mother country’ (another small island). Queenie is their landlady, who met Gilbert during the war, and is one of the few people in London willing to take in ‘coloured’ lodgers (much to the chagrin of her neighbours). Queenie’s own husband is missing, but that seems to be the least of her concerns…

THOUGHTS:   This is the story of four people who have little in common – except perhaps high hopes and disappointment. Read more of this post

The Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

DATE FINISHED: September 15th, 2011             

RATED: ***(3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Tete is sold to plantation owner Valmorain when she is a child, as a gift for his new bride.  However as his wife succumbs to illness in the suffocating tropical atmosphere of Saint-Domingue (later Haiti), Valmorain finds additional uses for Tete.  The children she bears & raises for him change the course of both of their lives irrevocably, but Tete waits only for her freedom.  When Valmorain moves to New Orleans to escape the slaves rebellion and danger of Saint-Domingue, Tete’s situation changes again as Valmorain takes a new wife.  But in a new country & a new city, where interactions between the free and slaves, between whites and those of colour are even more complex, Tete and her children have all new challenges and relationships to face.

THOUGHTS:  I was initially taken aback by Allende’s sprawling prose, descriptive and decadent as the tropical climes represented, Read more of this post