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.
Dave Eggers – The Circle is our book of the month for September.
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. … What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. Subscribe to the book-of-the-month!
Antonia Hodgson – The Devil in the Marshalsea is our book of the month for September.
London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies. A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London. Subscribe to the book-of-the-month!