Tag: Books: Literary


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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Review: Selection Day

Posted 10 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Selection Day
By: Aravind Adiga
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

From Aravind Adiga, the bestselling, Booker Prize­–winning author of The White Tiger, a dazzling new novel about two brothers in a Mumbai slum who are raised by their obsessive father to become cricket stars, and whose coming of age threatens their relationship, future, and sense of themselves.

Manjunath Kumar is fourteen and living in a slum in Mumbai. He knows he is good at cricket—if not as good as his older brother, Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling, and is fascinated by curious scientific facts and the world of CSI. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know. Sometimes it even seems as though everyone has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. When Manju meets Radha’s great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change, and he is faced by decisions that will challenge his understanding of it, as well as his own self.

Filled with unforgettable characters from across India’s social strata—the old scout everyone calls Tommy Sir; Anand Mehta, the big-dreaming investor; Sofia, a wealthy, beautiful girl and the boys’ biggest fan—this book combines the best of The Art of Fielding and Slumdog Millionaire for a compulsive, moving story of adolescence and ambition, fathers, sons, and brothers. Selection Day is Adiga’s most absorbing, big-hearted novel to date, and proves why “with his gripping, amusing glimpse into the contradictions and perils of modern India, Aravind Adiga has cemented his reputation as the preeminent chronicler of his country’s messy present”

Firstly, yeah, this review actually went live by mistake last week when I was still sorting out my hosting and url redirection issues so I rescheduled it for today. Oops!

Anyhow, I had seen Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger around but I had never picked it up to read (will have to change that sometime in the near future). In the meantime Simon & Schuster CA contacted me asking if I was interested in reading this book; it sounded different geographically and otherwise from what I usually read so I agreed in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 03 January 2017.

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Review: Faithful

Posted 3 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Faithful
By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA through Netgalley

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it from Simon & Schuster CA earlier this year. I’ve read two of Alice Hoffman’s books to date (see author tag), both of which I’ve enjoyed, but something at the back of my head told me that this book was going to be something different. I was approved an eARC of this novel by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 01 November 2016.

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Review: The Hottest Dishes of Tartar Cuisine

Posted 12 August, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Hottest Dishes of Tartar Cuisine
By: Alina Bronsky
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

When she discovers that her seventeen-year-old daughter, “stupid Sulfia,” is pregnant by an unknown man she does everything to thwart the pregnancy, employing a variety of folkloric home remedies. But despite her best efforts the baby, Aminat, is born nine months later at Soviet Birthing Center Number 134. Much to Rosa’s surprise and delight, dark eyed Aminat is a Tartar through and through and instantly becomes the apple of her grandmother’s eye. While her good for nothing husband Kalganow spends his days feeding pigeons and contemplating death at the city park, Rosa wages an epic struggle to wrestle Aminat away from Sulfia, whom she considers a woefully inept mother. When Aminat, now a wild and willful teenager, catches the eye of a sleazy German cookbook writer researching Tartar cuisine, Rosa is quick to broker a deal that will guarantee all three women a passage out of the Soviet Union. But as soon as they are settled in the West, the uproariously dysfunctional ties that bind mother, daughter and grandmother begin to fray.

I believe I first encountered this book while browsing a list on GoodReads on translated literature. The premise sounded oddly amusing, but it’s also placed in a setting that I like reading from (in and around the Soviet period) plus I read good things about the author online (award-winning and all). So I finally caved last year and picked it up after staring at it for a good long time 🙂

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