Tag: Books: Literary


Review: Everything Beautiful Began After

Posted 25 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Everything Beautiful Began After
By: Simon van Booy
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Rebecca is young, lost and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens – trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or in a drunken stupor. And then there is Henry, an accomplished young Welsh archaeologist who spends his days devotedly uncovering the city’s past as a way to escape his own – a past that holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about.

As these three lost and lonely souls wander the city, a series of chance encounters sets off events that will forever define them, in this powerful portrait of friendship and young love.

I have been eyeing this book for years, I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. I suppose I figured last year that it was high time I picked the book up so here I am, having read it at long last and reviewing it.

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Review: Nutshell

Posted 21 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Nutshell
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

“Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.”
Shakespeare: Hamlet

Nutshell is an altogether original story of deceit and murder, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. Love and betrayal, life and death come together in the most unexpected, moving ways in this sensational new novel from Ian McEwan, which will make readers first gasp with astonishment then laugh with delight. Dazzling, funny and audacious, it is the finest recent work from a true master, beautifully told, brilliantly executed.

I was on a bit of an Ian McEwan roll some time ago; I think I picked up this book around Christmas. It’s a fairly short book and I was in need of a short read so I started reading it.

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Review: On Chesil Beach

Posted 20 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

On Chesil Beach
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

All she had needed was the certainty of his love, and his reassurance that there was no hurry when a lifetime lay ahead of them. It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…

I first read this book back in 2010 when I was doing my semester abroad but like the few books that I read during my time there, I never got around to reviewing them here. I remember liking it enough but not quite getting it; I expected more drama a la Atonement (review) and felt it ended quite abruptly. Having read a few of his books recently and with news that this book was being adapted into a movie, I figured it was time to revisit the title.

SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book because I will talk about it to some great length!

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Review: The Children Act

Posted 24 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Children Act
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

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 thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, 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.

(Grr, a bit of backstory: I typed up a wonderful review to this novel and then my laptop decided to shut down on me without politely giving me the heads up. Not cool, laptop, not cool. Let’s see how much I recall from this)

I admit, I was sort of debating whether or not to check out this novel. On the one hand, I love Ian McEwan’s writing; Atonement (review) is one of my favourite novels of all time. But on the other hand, the last few books I read by him were rather lacklustre IMO. Nonetheless I eventually caved and decided to pick up this novel 😛

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Review: The Goldfinch

Posted 12 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Goldfinch
By: Donna Tartt
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my purchase

Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

At long last I finally got around to reading this book, haha. To be honest I wasn’t planning on reading it, it was well into one of those “I’ll read it one of these days” kind of books, but then I saw it at the airport during the summer in mass market paperback format (which I didn’t think was possible; I knew enough about the book to know it was quite the tome) and picked it up 😛

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