Here’s my attempt at penning down a review for The Idiot, having now had some time away from the book. I found The Idiot wholly original, thwarting traditional narrative techniques and feigning all importance to the plot, twist or thrill. It’s a story that acutely captures the ordinary mundanities and absurdities of life in sharp relief while still managing to stay engaging and entertaining for almost 500 pages. We follow Selin, an 18-year-old, born to Turkish-American immigrants, for the first year of her university life in Harvard and a summer spent volunteering in Hungary. Continue reading
This was one of those quietly, brilliant coming-of-age novels that just snuck up on me and completely enamoured me. Set in a remote Scottish island, the novel follows two young girls, socially adept Lorrie and painfully shy Sylvie as they navigate the pressures of growing up in this intimately small town where everyone knows everyone. Angela Readman creates a beautifully nuanced portrait of girlhood and friendship, Continue reading
There are stories that completely submerge you in its currents, carrying you to distant lands in a different time, filling your head with ideas you haven’t paused to ponder. And finally, washes you ashore letting you take that invigorating breath of air. I was spellbound. I’m at a loss of words. What a master storyteller is Diane Setterfield! Continue reading
Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks is easily one of my favourite books of the year. It’s a brilliant, incredibly thought-provoking and simply exquisite novel. It’s been shelved as dystopia/science fiction and it’s really none of that. It’s mildly speculative at best, contemporary, and as Zumas calls it, a ‘para-topian’ novel, set very much in today’s society. The only change being, an act has been passed in the United States called the Personhood Amendment, by which a fertilized single-celled zygote is considered a legal citizen with the right to liberty and life. Continue reading
Normal People at its core is an intimate, emotional and complex relationship between Marianne and Connell that sinusoids between romantic and platonic, truthful and manipulative. While I certainly liked how realistic the portrayal of ‘modern love’ is, I found it increasingly cumbersome to read as it progressed. Connell and Marianne are almost like magnets, their opposite poles aligned at times and experiencing this subliminal, unrestrained, ferocious attraction and at other times almost repelling each other with equal force. As a reader, your caught in between these extremes and you unravel this incredibly complex, often unpredictable, intimate yet turbulent relationship. As this novel progresses, it increasingly read like an elaborate ceremonial dance of egos, of unsaid communication having far-reaching consequences, and at times I just couldn’t see the sense in their actions/decisions.
I’ve read reviews where the writing style has been criticized. On that note, however, I disagree. Rooney’s writing is sparse, and I thought it was beautifully done. It’s sharp, incisive almost, without a single word being wasted. To sum things up, for me, it was an okay read. The character study, which started really strong, somewhere lost it’s footing, stumbling & getting a little too embroiled into the character’s messy lives. I began to lose interest. As I read, I kept flipping back to see how many pages were left to read. Make of that, what you will.
I’m still curious to try Conversations with Friends, though I’m in no real rush.
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer was such a brilliant, emotionally resonant, pensive and slightly dark collection of stories focussing on girlhood and growing up. Every story is incredibly distinct and beautifully realized. It deals with complex issues like dealing with the loss of a parent, sibling rivalry, the very cruel things that children are capable of doing to one another, friendship and sisterhood. Some might find this collection a little too dark, a little too bleak, but I found it incredibly realistic. Continue reading
Earlier in October, I read Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor and I really enjoyed it. Middle-grade can be a hit or miss with me and to be fair I haven’t read much of the genre as an adult. This was refreshingly inventive, and though it is meant for a younger audience, I never felt it talking down or being overly simplistic. Continue reading
‘She has come. She has come for me.’
Melmoth unravels as a brooding, morose, gothic tale of a wanderer, a woman, an ancient mythical monster that resides in the darkest corners and bears witness to all the evils that unfold just when you think no-one is watching. Sarah Perry does complete justice to the atmosphere and tone of the book, at times, legitimately, spine-chilling, tempting you to take a quick peek over your shoulder, just to make sure no-one is watching. Continue reading