This is the debut novel of a Scottish/American writer that was long-listed for the Booker Prize and has received rave reviews. It is set in Glasgow in the 1980s against the backdrop of mine and factory closures, as grim a story I have read as any set in Scotland and centred on the working class in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Agnes Bain, a former beauty who expected much of … Read more »
I bought this book without any knowledge of it, but who can resist buying a special at Readings in Carlton? Hamnet is a novel inspired by what little is known about Shakespeare’s son, a twin to his sister, Judith, who falls ill unto death with the plague. It is worth reading the whole book for the heart-breaking description of how the plague spread around the world, finally arriving at Stratford-on-Avon. There are traumatic descriptions of how Agnes, Shakespeare’s wife and mother of … Read more »
It is a bit of a cliché, but this really is a much awaited novel – Ishiguro’s eighth and his first since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. It falls into the category of science fiction but don’t be turned off if that is not where you usually go. Klara is an Artificial Friend, bought as a companion to a very sick teenage girl, Rosie. … Read more »
Books like this are my dream! Books themselves are the central characters – collected, stored, borrowed, discussed and loved by staff and customers of libraries (and bookshops) the world over.
The library in this story is a real institution – the American Library in Paris. Staffed by multilingual librarians, it survived the Nazi occupation of Paris but only because of the total dedication of the staff and volunteers. They ensured that troops in the field received books and arranged home delivery when Jews were … Read more »
Recommended by Barack Obama as one of his top books for 2020. The rest of her fans have been eagerly awaiting this fourth in her Gilead series: Gilead, Home and Lila, each of which can be read as a stand-alone novel, but each is also an important part of the, not strictly sequential, series. Set in the late 1940s, the books centre on the Boughton and Ames … Read more »
Leave the World Behind
Ecco Press, $25.99
This is the third novel by this author, of whom I had never heard. It has received terrific reviews, so I have chosen it to kick off 2021.
My first comment is that if you are one of many of us who are still feeling fragile after the challenges of 2020, you might want to give this a miss for a few more months. The … Read more »