Thursday, 27 January 2011

Roopa Farooki: Half-life

It’s time to stop fighting, and go home! - Those were the words that finally persuaded Aruna to walk out of her East London flat to get on a plane to Singapore, running back home to the city and her old life she had run away from. Aruna is about to discover that running away is easy. It is coming home and making peace that is hard.

This was a very evocative story without being too descriptive. The reader can identify easily with Aruna and Jazz and it is the reader's feelings, too, that are confused and confounded like those of the main characters'.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Roopa Farooki: The way things look to me

At 23, Asif is less than he wanted to be. His mother's sudden death forced him back home to look after his youngest sister, Yasmin, and he leads a frustrating life, ruled by her exacting need for routine as a consequence of her Asperger's syndrome. Everyone tells Asif that he's a good boy, but he isn't so sure. Lila has escaped from home, but she leads a wayward existence, drifting between jobs and men, obsessed with her looks and certain that her value is only skin deep. And then there is Yasmin, who has no idea of the resentment she has caused. Who sees music in colour and remembers so much that sometimes her head hurts. Who doesn't feel happy, but who knows that she is special and that she has a devastating plan.

This story was a great read. The story lines were all well developed and researched carefully and each character's viewpoint makes it clear to the reader that even if we are "neurotypical", we might have some "non-neurotypical" traits within us. The ending of the story leaves some aspects open so that the story doesn't end like a cheap chick-lit story, but a serious and wonderful literary achievement. A fantastic read!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Linda Gillard: Star Gazing

Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her forties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister, Louisa, a successful novelist. Marianne's passionate nature finds solace and expression in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, a man she encounters on her doorstep one winter's night. Whilst Marianne has had her share of men attracted to her because they want to rescue her, Keir makes no concession to her condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, and yet oddly kind. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to 'show' her the stars?

This was a great read - romantic, sad, emotional, uplifting, suspenseful and pacey. The storyline was fascinating and the characters incredibly convincing. Marianne's blindness was particularly well-developed. At times the story was slightly overdone and reminded too much of simply chick-lit, but overall it was a satisfying and quick read.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Anne Zouroudi: The Messenger of Athens

When the battered body of a young woman is discovered on a remote Greek island, the local police are quick to dismiss her death as an accident. Then a stranger arrives, uninvited, from Athens, announcing his intention to investigate further. His methods are unorthodox, and he brings his own mystery into the web of dark secrets and lies. Who has sent him, on whose authority is he acting, and how does he know of dramas played out decades ago?

The storyline and the characters were interesting and the setting gorgeous. However, the story telling itself was confusing with a range of voices and views merging into one another so that it was at times difficult to determine who is talking when....

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Michael Niavarani: Vater Morgana

Es kann zu Verwicklungen kommen, wenn man versucht die deutsch-österreichisch-amerikanisch-schwedisch-britisch-persische Familie endlich einmal unter dem Christbaum zu versammeln oder das persische Neujahrsfest "Nowrouz" gemeinsam zu feiern. Es kann schon kompliziert werden, alle Cousins und Cousinen, Tanten und Onkel in den Sommerferien zu besuchen. Es kommt aber definitiv zu einer globalen Katastrophe, wenn man den Tod des eigenen Vaters vor dessen Mutter geheim halten muss, weil die liebe Verwandtschaft befürchtet, dass Mamanbosorg, meine persische Omi, diesen Schock nicht überleben wird.

Eine unterhaltsame Familiengeschichte mit viel Kultur und Wortwitz. Manchmal war es etwas enttäuschend, aber im Allgemeinen recht lustig.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ben Sherwood: The death and life of Charlie St. Cloud

When he was a boy, Charlie St Cloud almost perished in a car crash that killed his little brother, Sam. Years later, Charlie is still trying to atone for his loss. It is only when he meets Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventurous yachtswoman, that he is faced with a choice- between death and life, the past and the present, holding on and letting go. The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud is a romantic and exhilarating novel about second chances and the liberating power of love.

It has taken me a long time to pick this book up and to start reading it. Somehow I always felt it was going to be a tedious read and I shouldn't force myself through this when there are so many good books out there. How wrong I was!!!
The characters are interesting, the storyline is fascinating and one big twist makes the book a real page-turner. Sometimes sad but overall an encouraging read for anyone who has lost a loved one.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Schilddorfer & Weiss: Narr

Ein grausamer Mord, ein Kreuz mit geheimnisvollen Symbolen steht nicht weit vom Tatort entfernt. In den nächsten zwei Tagen werden Mitglieder der österreichischen Regierung systematisch ermordet. Georg Sina und Paul Wagner kommen einer Verschwörung auf die Spur, die bereits angezettelt wurde, als 1814 der Wiener Kongress tanzte. Zwischen Wien und Berlin beginnt die Jagd auf vier mysteriöse, verschlüsselte Dokumente. Können Wagner und Sina eine Revolution mitten in Europa verhindern?

Eine interessante Lektüre mit viel Geschichte und Spannung. "Ewig" war zwar packender, aber dennoch war auch diese Verschwörungsgeschichte toll zu lesen.