BOOK REVIEWS for Booklovers from The Booklover
Book Reviews for Booklovers from The Booklover
The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell $38
One drowsy summer’s day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for ‘asylum’. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking ... The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly’s life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland’s Atlantic coast as Europe’s oil supply dries up – a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapsesin the laws of reality. For Holly is also an unwitting player in a murderous feud played out in the shadows and margins of our world, and may prove to be its decisive weapon. Metaphysical thriller, meditation on mortality and chronicle of our self-devouring times, this kaleidoscopic novel crackles with the invention and wit that have made David Mitchell one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. If you found Cloud Atlas or The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet spellbinding, then The Bone Clocks is for you.
J - Howard Jacobson $37
A life-changing novel by one of Britain’s greatest novelists, winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for The Finkler Question. Set in the future – a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited – J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why? Hanging over the lives of all the characters in this novel is a momentous catastrophe – a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as ‘What Happened, If It Happened’. J is an extraordinary, thought-provoking novel that reminds you of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World.
The Children Act - Ian McEwan $37
A brilliant, emotionally wrenching novel from the Man Booker Prize winning author of several bestsellers, including Amsterdam, Atonement, Saturday, On Chesil Beach and Sweet Tooth. Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of 30 years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, 17-year-old Adam is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.
The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters $40
It is 1922, and London is tense, as ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. In South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house are shaken up in unexpected ways. As passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be. This is vintage Sarah Waters, acclaimed author of the bestsellers Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is, above all, a wonderful, compelling story.
Plenty More - Yotam Ottolenghi $70
The much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling, award-winning Plenty. Vegetables have moved from the side dish to the main plate, grains are celebrated with colour and flair. Plenty changed the way people cook and eat. Its focus on vegetable dishes, with the emphasis on flavour, original spicing and freshness of ingredients, caused a revolution the world over. Plenty More picks up where Plenty left off, with 120 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes, this time organised by cooking method. Grilled, baked, simmered, braised or raw, the range of recipe ideas is stunning.