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.
I finally read The Secret History by Donna Tartt and my reading experience, on the whole, was rather mixed. I have captured my thoughts mid-way through and on completion of the book. I’d love to know if the things that didn’t work for me were aspects that got in the way for you too. Continue reading
Category: Contemporary Fiction
Author: Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is the story of a young woman who leads a life of extreme seclusion and a chance encounter in helping an elderly gentleman on the road sets off a series of events that allow her to come undone and eventually, exorcise the demons of her past. My reaction, to some extent was also coloured by the context in which read this book, as a nomination for a literary prize. Continue reading
Category: Literary Fiction
Author: Abi Andrews
This is a very tricky one to write a review for as my overall experience was rather conflicting. This novel is part adventure, part travel writing, part philosophical musings, part coming-of-age and rediscovery, speckled with feminist ideals, the myth and beliefs of the Native Peoples of North America and vilifying of patriarchy and it’s societal repercussions. That’s a handful. And it works to the advantage and disadvantage of this novel. It’s far too ambitious, with too many ideas, that none of the ideas felt fully realised. Continue reading
Category: Short Stories, Realist stories
Author: Kseniya Melnik
This realist short story collection turned out to be such a pleasant surprise! Snow in May is a collection of stories set in and around the Siberian port town of Magadan situated closer to Alaska than to any other major Russian city. Despite a bustling hub, Magadan has a dark and tumultuous past, as it was once a gateway to the Gulag network, Stalin’s cruelest labour camps and stories resonate with a tinge of the town’s dark past.
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism
Author: Aimee Bender
This is the first book by Aimee Bender that I have read. This focuses on Rose, a young girl who has a fairly ‘normal’ family at the beginning of this book but then she starts to taste emotions within the food which her mother is cooking for the family. Continue reading