Thursday, 1 June 2017

Books I read in May

A thin month, this, what with the excitement of the house and all. But I read: 

Julia Crouch Her Husband's Lover (local library)
Yet another female psychopath story, albeit well written and with a nice - if not wholly unexpected - twist.

Beryl Bainbridge The Bottle Factory Outing (Amazon)
Seventies period piece, mildly diverting.

Tana French The Trespasser (Smiths, St Pancras)
I really rate Tana French and I think this is her best yet. On the face of it, a Dublin police murder mystery. But also an exquisite study of trust, mistrust and paranoia; of relationships lost, found, made, destroyed and thrown away. One of the most real protagonists I have ever read relates a first person, present tense narrative that is so dense and intense that I found myself having to put it down to take a breath. The speech patterns and dialogue are so natural; the prose perfectly balanced, the single viewpoint so intense, the feelings so raw and real - and all done so effortlessly that as a reader you are never aware of the author's presence. A fabulous example of ars est celare artem. An extraordinary book.

Catherine O'Flynn What Was Lost (from my shelves; originally from a charity shop)
Reread after recomemnding it to someone else to see if it was as brilliant as I remembered. Maybe not quite, but I'd forgotten how neatly it all ties up.  And that it's a sort of ghost story, but if you really don't want to suspend disbelief, you can get round that.

Louise Doughty Black Water (Smiths, St Pancras)
Gripping, Graham Greene-esque tale of a man involved in all sorts of nastiness in Indonesia. Slightly disappointingly ambiguous ending but I guess that's how it was meant to feel.

Clare Mackintosh I See You (Tescos)
Another psychopath lurking in plain sight, a bit too clever and not entirely unpredictable.

Maggie O'Farrell This Must Be The Place (Tescos)
Well written as always, but the way this odd-family saga skipped about made it hard for me to really engage with most of the characters - and the cipher at the middle of it never quite rang true.

Ann Cleeves The Moth Catcher (local library)
Traditional detective mystery with the ending somewhat pulled out of a hat.

Mark Edwards The Magpies (local library)
Nothing sparkling, competently written but grubbily gripping tale of a young couple persecuted by their neighbours.


Books I really tried to read in May

Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces

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