The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

he Silkworm - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)This is the second book about Cormoran Strike, a hard-boiled private investigator in the Mickey Spillane mode. This book is set in the vicious world of publishing. Excellent plot with ongoing development of the relationship between Cormoran and his trusty secretary, Robin. The story takes place in London, and you can feel the cold of an English winter.

Certainty by Madeleine Thien

474662This is a great book, really two love stories spanning two generations set in North Borneo (WWII, now Malaysia), Vancouver and The Netherlands. It is a compelling story of secrets and sorrows of the past, and grief and loss (a phrase: “ routine .. to keep their thoughts contained”). This may be the only time I have recommended two books by the same author in a single month.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/474662.Certainty?from_search=true

Cereus Blooms At Night by Shani Mootoo

111653A fierce story of Mala, a multi-layered individual: fiercely protective of her sister after her mother leaves; driven to murder by sexual abuse by her father; an interesting issue of her sanity when she is institutionalized. A book filled with vivid characters. (This is also on the CBC list; last month I recommended Valmiki’s Daughter)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/111653.Cereus_Blooms_at_Night?from_search=true

Dogs At The Perimeter by Madeleine Thien

10129122This is a heartbreaking story of Cambodia in the 1970s, horrors that persist two decades later in Canada. A haunting phrase: “Hunger was erasing my being”; reality becomes blurred in such horrible circumstances. Thien was at Blue Metropolis last May in Montreal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10129122-dogs-at-the-perimeter

The Great Man – Kate Christensen

The Great ManOn one level, this is a great book about art in NY. But at its core, this is about relationships – the three women who were intimately involved in the life of a painter who has just died: his sister, wife and long-time lover. The story revolves around the different viewpoints of these three strong women, mostly from when they are old (70s-80s).

A Tale For The Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

tale for the time beingThis is a brilliant story. A woman in the BC Gulf Islands (Ruth) finds a diary washed ashore, written by a 15 year-old (Nao) in Japan in which her relationship with her 104 year-old great-grandmother is described. Story is a mystery with some magical elements, with Zen philosophy and some quantum mechanics to describe time and place (a little like 1Q84). A fascinating question is asked: How does reading a story impact the ending?