Hopeful: book review
‘The Woman On The Stairs’ written by Bernhard Schlink is a charming book set in Germany involving creativity, love and hope.
Three men are all in love with the same woman and a painting of Irene is later the pivot that brings them together again.
Well worth a read.
Renewal looks a strange word; it looks like three words in one.
If you are feeling your age, I’ve just read a book you might enjoy.
It is about a widow and widower who cross an invisible societal line in their small community. They feel that they’ve reached the age where they don’t care what others think.
‘Our Souls at Night’ is written by Kent Haruf. If you’re feeling you need to change your life in some way or just need a good read, this is the book for you. Haruf writes about two people in their seventies who find love and friendship with poignancy, charm and believability.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
For those of you who have read, The Rosie Project, you will be thrilled to hear there is a follow on with The Rosie Effect, which is equally charming.
The main character, Don Tillman, a geneticist, is now married to Rosie Jarman, a medical student. Their lives are further changed by their move from Melbourne to New York. It is never explicitly divulged that Don has Asperger’s Syndrome, but his way of life is so unique, he can be nothing but. He learns how to deal with things, but in the process gets himself into some very difficult situations. The caring side of Don is so carefully crafted, and the funny incidents continue to amuse the reader.
Trying to protect his wife from stress, the web of deceit grows, leaving him in danger of losing his job, deportation, and worst of all, losing Rosie.
Difference is cherished throughout this story. For any of you who are, or have met anyone, on the autistic spectrum, you’ll love this book.
Jacinta Halloran, a Melbourne GP, writes about Doctor Anna McBride with an authoritative voice. Life as a GP is usually considered pretty cushy, but this story allows one into the life of a busy mother, wife and doctor. When a delayed diagnosis brings about a lawsuit for medical negligence, Anna starts to doubt herself. Life becomes chaotic and she’s unable to fulfill the wishes of all of those depending on her. Her architect husband looks further afield as she’s unable to satisfy his needs.
This book is set in Melbourne, Australia, capturing city life in its complexity. It will resonate with anyone who has tried to juggle a job, home and family. I listened to the audio book, read beautifully by Jane Nolan, a well- known Australian actress.
Dissection was shortlisted for the 2007 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards- Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript. Her next novel was published in August 2012, and is called, Pilgrimage. I shall be looking for it next time I go to the library.
Suspect book review:
Another Playaway Audio Book I greatly enjoyed was Suspect By Robert Crais. For those of you who are dog lovers, this suspense drama follows the life of a highly trained dog. First of all we find Maggie in Afghanistan and then later she becomes a police dog.
Having had many dogs during my life-time, I learnt more about the needs of dogs listening to this novel. Maggie suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome after her time in Afghanistan, and is able to help Scott rehabilitate too. He is suffering from the same condition. The gentle intimacies and needs of both are explored, showing Maggie’s need to guard and protect. This emotional story follows a police drama, wanting to solve the case involving the death of Scott’s partner.
A must for any dog lover.
Another ten minute free write.
Book Review: The Darkening Hour by Penny Hancock
I listened to this as a library Clipper Audio book, which works well with the two main characters tell their own story. Anna Bentinck narrates a middle class Englishwoman, Theodora, and British actress Adjoa Andoh narrates her impoverished Moroccan live-in help, Mona.
The duel story is gripping with two quite different perspectives. It immerses one into modern London life, being torn by a job and family commitments. After the death of Theodora’s mother, the family dynamics change. The darkening, brooding tension builds up. Kindness is a fragile commodity. Frustration is woven through both lives, but lacking empathy and trust bring about dire consequences.
‘Collected Works of A. J. Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin, 2014
This small work of fiction captures the reader’s imagination with the closeness of a small community living on an island. Pivotal is the bookshop. Here we meet a widower, grieving for his wife who was killed in a road accident, until a miracle happens.
Grief, friendship and love are the main ingredients. The love of books permeates the whole story, bringing together the main characters. ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer is of a similar ilk. Together they are delightful in their simplicity.
Sometimes I feel the need for an untroubling read before going to sleep. This fits the bill perfectly.
‘The Rosie Project’ Graeme Simsion
At the moment I am reading ‘The Rosie Project’ which has had me laughing out loud! If you feel like something light but well written, this is the book for you. The protagonist is Don, a highly intelligent professor of genetics, and although he’s not aware of it, he has Asperger’s Syndrome. This story presents many delightful insights into the world of someone who sees things in a literal way without being able to read the subtleties of facial expressions.
He would dearly like to find a wife; so he prepares a sixteen- page questionnaire, The Wife Project is born. This is just the beginning, it develops with the help of his friend, a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker; someone who definitely doesn’t tick all the boxes. Predictable, maybe, but definitely a fun read.
The author, Graeme Simsion, is from Melbourne and he’s written plays, short stories and two non-fiction books. ‘The Rosie Project’ is his first novel and won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. It is published by textpublishing.com.au
A Review: ‘And Then Like My Dreams’ (A Memoir)
Margaret Rose Stringer http://margaretrosestringer.com
This joyous and then poignant love story brings into focus two inseparable lives complimenting one another fully, following M-R’s disconsolate childhood.
Margaret Rose is a master story- teller. It is the final part that I found the most compelling. Her honesty: disclosing her intimate feelings, full of pathos and then devastation, one can’t help but be moved.
I put off reading this book because I knew it was going to be sad. In fact I borrowed it from the library, as I wasn’t sure I would like it. Having read it I shall order a couple of copies, as it is the sort of book one can give to someone else going through the drama of life. It is good to know that you’re not the only one who is suffering! The ending shows the strength that M-R gained, going on to study, work and write, finding her-self again. This gives hope; even though life will never be the same, it shows how strength can be achieved through adversity.
M-R is a prolific blogger and responder to other peoples’ blogs. Many of you will know her already. I recommend, ‘And Then Like My Dreams.’