Enjoying a book chosen from a library shelf with no prior information is a wonderful experience. This is a very fine relationship book about complex issues, most seriously the conviction that someone is unlovable and unlikable because of bad things that happen in childhood. Eleanor has many issues like wildly inappropriate social skills, but a chance encounter with Raymond leads, slowly and haltingly, to a happy endpoint There are some laugh-out loud parts but then some heartbreaking sections that will bring the reader to tears. This is Honeyman’s first novel but her writing is mature and reminiscent of Rachel Joyce which is high praise, in my opinion; highly recommended.
This is a remarkable book about a second American civil war (2075-95). The power is in the chilling demonstration of the cost of war to common people; this is not a story about soldiers. This war is driven by ecological issues and extreme partisanship, so very topical and prescient. Above all, this is a tough angry story about revenge and retribution. This is a debut novel that should be a formidable Canada Reads contender.
This is a fantastic book, a remarkable first novel that was long-listed for the Giller, and that, in my opinion, is much better than some of the books on the Giller short list. Full disclosure: this is a relationship book which everyone who reads this blog knows is my favourite topic. The story is about psychological intimacy, a couple that evolves to a consensual three-some and eventually to a four-some. The book is beautifully written with sub-headings like “Questions” and “Answers” and “What Kathryn Wants”. This is a delightful read about complex relationships with a brilliant ending – highly recommended, one of my best reads this year.
This is an entertaining story about a dysfunctional family, the Plumb siblings (Johnathan Franzen territory). The core character is the oldest, Leo, a prodigal brother who is charming but dishonest and deceitful. The plot has a number of surprising turns to make this a very enjoyable read. Leo’s siblings are variably desperate and entitled and conniving. This is another amazing first novel that is highly recommended.
This is a remarkable first novel about relationships (my favourite topic): Naomi and her parents; Naomi and her childhood friend; Naomi and her fellow Wellesley College students. Parts of this book reminded me of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which is high praise.
At the end of the book mentioned above, Swyler is interviewed and gives a list of some favourite books with circus themes, and Logan’s remarkable first novel is from that list. It is some time in the future when rising sea levels have eliminated most land masses. Thus people are divided between the land lockers who live on islands, and the seagoing damplings. A circus troupe travels by boat; the sail becomes the big-top tent. And there is a marked plot change half way through the book that enhances the story – a very satisfying book.
This is an excellent first novel about librarians conducting genealogical research based on a mysterious old book. And there is magic, circus performers and even a curse: what’s not to love! Parts of this book remind the reader of The Night Circus, high praise.