Category: Books

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Shortlisted for last year’s Man Booker prize, Exit West begins as a love story and turns into something more. Not quite magic realism, it is a novel that uses the fantastical in a way that reminded me a little of The Underground Railroad. In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met … Read More Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

A little bit late to the party (Joanna Cannon’s second novel has just come out), The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was one of the big debuts of 2016. Mrs Creasy was still missing on Tuesday, and she was even more missing on Wednesday, when she’d arranged to sell raffle tickets for the British Legion. By Thursday, her name was being passed over garden fences and … Read More The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Seventy-four years old, Antiguan born and bred, flamboyant Hackney personality, Barry is known for his dapper taste and fondness for retro suits. He is a husband, a father and a grandfather. And for the past sixty years he has been in a secret relationship with his childhood friend and soulmate, Morris. The obvious theme of this novel is the prejudice surrounding gay relationships, focusing … Read More Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Amongst a spate of recent novels set in Auschwitz, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on a real man, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was forced to work in that role during his imprisonment in Auschwitz. In 2003 Heather Morris met Lale and they became friends over the years it took for him to tell her his story. Morris is a screenwriter rather than … Read More The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

With the film version of On Chesil Beach due out later this year, it seemed a good time to try another McEwan (also, a short novel felt manageable on a New Year’s hangover). I’ve had mixed feelings when it comes to McEwan. I almost always like his ideas, but sometimes find his novels to be populated with insufferable characters. This story is mainly set on one … Read More On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

This book has been on my TBR since earlier this year when it was longlisted for the Baileys Prize. A hefty (545 pages) epic tale set in Kentucky and centred on horse racing – you’ve got to be in the right mood to pick that up. Am I glad I bothered? Yes and no… This is the story of two families. One is rich … Read More The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The fifth, and final, book in the Cazalet Chronicles. The title says it all – this is the end of an era and the beginning of something new. It’s a novel that I think has to be read as part of the series. If you came to this as a standalone book you’d be lost within pages. I gave up trying to differentiate between … Read More All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The Last Hours by Minette Walters

The Last Hours is Minette Walters’ first foray into historical fiction, a genre I do read a fair amount of, though not of this period. Set in the summer of 1348, the Black Death has just arrived in Dorset. The disease is unlike anything anyone has seen before and with the lack of medical knowledge, it swiftly devastates towns and villages. On the estate … Read More The Last Hours by Minette Walters

My Favourite 2017 Reads

OK, it’s a couple of weeks early but I read so many good books this year that I’d be surprised if I read anything to better these choices in the next fourteen days! I’ve gone with a top ten just to pin it down, and these are presented in the order I read them in, from January to December. This year I’ve found that … Read More My Favourite 2017 Reads

America City by Chris Beckett

Set approximately one hundred years from now, America is in crisis. The warmer climate has led a divided country: the storm and drought ravaged south is emptying as citizens flee their battered homes and dust filled farms; in the north communities are under pressure as refugees arrive and set up in caravan parks – the southerners are far from welcome. A wall has already … Read More America City by Chris Beckett

The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin

Billed as the original psychological thriller, winning the 1960 Edgar Award for best mystery novel, The Hours Before Dawn was Celia Fremlin’s debut. First published in 1958, it is of its time in some ways but had me guessing throughout. Louise Henderson can’t understand why her baby son, Michael, won’t stop crying. All through the night he keeps her awake to the point that she can’t remember … Read More The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin

Another Country by James Baldwin

Published in 1962, Another Country is set in the Bohemian underworld of New York, exploring race, sexuality, poverty and wealth existing side by side. Rufus Scott is a Harlem jazz musician, fallen on hard times as we meet him wandering the streets, sleeping in a movie theatre during the day. Prior to this he was a success. People knew his name; they still do but now … Read More Another Country by James Baldwin