Category Archives: Trapido Barbara

On Loving Josiah by Olivia Fane

DATE FINISHED: June 18th, 2012 

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:  Eve is a charming, untameable, sexually liberated wild child, with sociopathic tendencies and a psychiatrist who has utterly fallen for her charms. But Eve bears a child to an earthy, grounded gardener, who takes on the responsibility of tending to the young Josiah along with his plants, while Eve continues to float about happily, perhaps manically, upsetting their care workers. Plucked from their care at the age of 7, Josiah is tumbled from foster home to foster home to residential care home, until at the age of 14 he meets classical scholar Thomas and a world of love he has not known opens up to him. This is the story of a boy who has fallen through too many gaps in ‘the system’.

THOUGHTS:  Eve is a wonderfully drawn, extraordinarily vivid and spirited character – perhaps on the cusp of insanity, but perhaps just ‘different’. Thomas’ introspection and academia are equally well realised, although the nature of his love for Josiah makes reading from his perspective a more uncomfortable experience. Read more of this post

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

DATE FINISHED: April 20th, 2012

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Annie and Buster – also known as Child A and Child B – have been a part of their parents’ conceptual/performance art projects throughout their childhoods.  As they try to carve out their own identities as adults, they begin to realise just how much their lives and personalities have been affected by their unusual upbringing.  Each for their own reasons, the younger Fangs return home, but just as they are beginning to try to make sense of things, their parents disappear.  Is it a horrific murder, as suspected by the police; or is it just another work of art?  As Child A and Child B attempt to flush their parents out of hiding, are they facilitating some greater scheme, or are there bigger issues to contend with?

THOUGHTS:   Where does art end and life begin when the medium of your artwork is not a pen or paintbrush, but human experience?   Read more of this post

Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway

DATE FINISHED: March 29th, 2012

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Naïve social misfit Verity Bell is concerned about many minor and major issues in her life, such as her leering boss, and her best friend Sally’s affair with a married man. Everything changes when she acquires a relationship of her own with an equally married man, with whom she knows she has found the secret to love and happiness. Although he is suddenly more reluctant to leave his wife, and increasingly finds fault in little things Verity knows she can change… Of course she is not in denial!

THOUGHTS:  You would be forgiven for assuming from the cover artwork and synopsis that this is just another frothy, throwaway chick-lit novel. It isn’t. Read more of this post

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

DATE FINISHED: September 2nd, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Twins Miranda and Eliot live in a house that is haunted by generations, a house with its own way of getting its own way.  Eliot seems immune to the ghosts they live with, but following the death of their mother, Miranda sees and hears more and more of them and her own existence becomes proportionally less and less.  Which family will claim her – the living or the dead?

THOUGHTS:  Oyeyemi’s prose style will not be to everyone’s taste, Read more of this post

The Hearts and Lives of Men by Fay Weldon

DATE FINISHED: April 23rd, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:Helen and Clifford fall in love at first sight, and the conception of Nell is the result. Love is simply not enough, however, and while Helen and Clifford are caught up in a bitter cycle of divorce and re-marriage, hurt and neediness, Nell disappears, falling into a series of bizarre guardianships until fate guides her back into the art world inhabited by her parents.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

DATE FINISHED: March 20th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: Ex-policeman Jackson Brodie is investigating the mysterious adoption of his client from 35 years ago; ex-policewoman Tracy Waterhouse has just bought a child at a bus-stop.  An unknown stranger is on the trail of them both.  What do either of their stories have to do with the murder of a prostitute in the 70s?

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post