Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Scarlett Thomas: The end of Mr Y

When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookshop, she can't believe her eyes. She knows enough about its author, the outlandish Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas, to know that copies are exceedingly rare. And, some say, cursed.With Mr. Y under her arm, Ariel finds herself thrust into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel.

This was a bizarre book, which I hadn't expected like that at all. Although there were some interesting philosophical approaches such as the "Gedankenspiele", the story got stranger by the page and thus difficult to follow.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Cecelia Ahern: The Book of Tomorrow

Tamara Goodwin always had everything she wanted. Why would she ever give a thought to tomorrow? But suddenly life takes a difficult turn, and Tamara faces the hard decision to swap her glamorous town living for life in the country. However, Tamara is soon lonely and longing for her old life. Then a travelling library arrives in the village, bringing with it a mysterious leather-bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What Tamara discovers within its pages takes her breath away and shakes her world forever.

This was an interesting and gripping story about love and deceit in a family, where only some lies and half-truths have been told to protect others. Tamara and her grieving mother are interesting, as are Marcus and Weseley, but Rosaleen and Arthur are suspicious right from the start. However, the huge lies they have been living with weren't predictable either. The only criticism of this book is that some overly long descriptive passages were included, which were not really helping the storyline or characterisation.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cecelia Ahern: The Gift

Lou Suffern is practised in the art of concealment. He is, also, always overstretched, trying to do too many things at once. His overburdened schedule gives him few moments of peace, even in his sleep. And when he spends time at home with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else. On a cold winter morning, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. But this act of charity rebounds on him, and Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou -- particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time. Christmas is drawing near, and before the season is over, Lou’s life will be irrevocably change by the casual act of kindness he has performed.

Although this seems to be a Christmas story and is set around Christmas, it actually is timeless. It's a great story about love, about juggling life and work, about being everywhere at the same time. The conflicts between Lou and Ruth but also between Lou and his work colleagues are very realistic and help the reader identify with the characters. Although Lou is rather unlikable and egotistic it becomes obvious that he genuinely tries to do what he thinks is the best for his family.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Celia Rees: Sorceress

The story is taken over by a young modern-day historian called Alison Ellman and a Native American Indian called Agnes, who realises that there is a spiritual link between herself and the long-dead English girl. The pair track down the truth of what happened to Mary, each in their own way. But it is through Agnes that Mary's story truly unfolds as the girl goes on a spiritual journey of self-discovery. In a trance-like state, she becomes Mary. We learn of her marriage to the Indian warrior Jaybird, their children and the suffering of her people when war comes.

Although it was interesting to find out more about Mary and although it was great to learn more about the Indian settlements in the past and the present, the story became to disjointed towards the end.