Not only is this the winner of the Costa award - it is also a very good read and a remarkable book!
My first impressions were that the book is like a cross between Groundhog Day and Sliding Doors - and so it is! But Life after Life is so much more, it's the story of a girl who somehow can live her life over again and by changing small details manage to change major events, not necessarily to history, but to her own life, and those close to her - but some things are too difficult to change no matter how many times you try.
OK, I'm about a year or two after everyone else - I normally don't like over-hyped books. But wow, this one is well worth the hype!
Gillian Flynn manages to twist and turn things around, leaving the reader suspecting but at the same time completely uprepared for the next turn of events. Masterly!
I am a great fan of Dodie Smith's lovely children's book One hundred and one Dalmatians, and have been curious to read something else by her for a long time. This is a completely different novel, but equally good.
A heartwarming and endearing book about recent OAP Harold Fry, who one day gets a letter from an old friend saying she's dying of cancer in Berick-upon-Tweed. Struck by this he goes down the road to post a letter, and then just continues to walk, thinking that as long as he's walking to see her, she will not die. He has no proper walking shoes, no maps, no compass, no waterproof clothes, just a will to see Queenie Hennesy again, talk to her, and to save her life.
This is an unususal and quite pleasant combination of a psychological chamber-drama, a ghost story and an Edwardian love story. Sometimes one is blown away by the lovely descriptions of clothes and old buildings and family history, and then suddenly the suspense creeps up and is quite breath-taking. A lovely, cosy book - with that extra twist - for dark autumn nights.
I love small publishers; you can find some true gems on their lists; a voice you would never have heard otherwise. El Gavilan is a bleak crime novel set in Ohio with the topic being latino immigration and racism - both personal and institutional. It is gripping and well written and makes you think. What more can you ask? I'm not entirely certain I like how the book pans out but at the same time I'm not sure I was supposed to! Recommended!
I've had this book lying around for quite a while and just picked it up to brush up on Liz Hand's work before her visit in the shop on September 8. This is vintage Hand; dark, gothic, filled with historical and literary references and allusions as well as youth angst, drugs, sex and well darkness. It is VERY well written and quite captivating. The film tangent reminded me of Flicker for some reason. I liked it!
(Oh and it's not in print at the moment, but drop us a line and we'll get you a nice second-hand copy if you're interested. You should be...)
Over the last 2 weeks I've reacquainted myself with one of my favourite writers; T. Jefferson Parker. He's been writing excellent Southern California crime writing for almost 30 years since his debut in 1985 with Laguna Heat. Lately his writing has been very much about a young police officer named Charlie Hood. I have just broken one of my long standing rules, which is do NOT read several books by the same author in a row. I have found in the past that this will almost always effectively make you disenchanted with that author.
David Leavitt – The Two Hotel Francforts is our book of the month for July.
It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe—a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal’s neutrality, and the world’s future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters—Julia’s status as a Jew, Pete and Edward’s improbable affair, Iris’s increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage—begin to come loose. This journey will change their lives irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war. Subscribe to the book-of-the-month!
Ian Sansom – The Norfolk Mystery is our book of the month for July.
– Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley's guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England; quaint villages, eccentric locals - and murder! It is 1937 and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where 'intelligence is essential', he applies. Thus begins Sefton's association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect.A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, every county is a crime scene, and with 39 counties in store there'll be plenty of murder, mystery and mayhem to confound and entertain you for years to come. Subscribe to the book-of-the-month!