In September I read and reviewed six books, all fiction:
Disclaimer by Renee Knight (Transworld) – This is a gripping psychological thriller with an interesting premise. Catherine settles down with a book only to discover that its events bare a chilling similarity with her own life, including something that no-one else should know. Alternating between the stories of Catherine and her nemesis this novel brings to light events which occurred twenty years previously. An intriguing page turner about family, love and revenge.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador) – This is one of the year’s most exciting books and it is more than worthy of its place on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. A Little Life is an incredible, moving story that covers life in all its forms, and the best and worst of humanity. It follows the stories of four friends making their way in New York and all that life brings. It does not shy away from some difficult subject matter with abuse and childhood trauma being key themes. In the midst of the harrowing moments there is hope and love and resilience as we see how humans can both break and heal each other.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Canongate) – The latest novel from Michel Faber is a story of love, faith and sacrifice. A Christian pastor leaves his beloved wife behind as he journeys to another planet to establish a base as part of a humanitarian mission. This novel looks at the strain that their separation has on a seemingly strong marriage, the damage it can cause when loved ones are miles away. An intriguing sci-fi novel of discovery with a focus on what is most important in life.
The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis (Sandstone Press) – A nostalgic family story in which the protagonist, Katerina, discovers some letters and a diary in a Spice Box inherited from her grandmother. Switching between Katerina’s discovery in 1985 and events of the Armenian tragedy of 1915 a family’s history unfolds. This is a story of family, past and present, and the human cost of war. It is a tale of love, loss and hope.
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury) – This is a surreal and chilling novel telling the story of couples who are living as part of the ‘Positron Project’ where residents sacrifice their freedom every second month in exchange for a home, a job and security. However all is not what it seems as the reality of this suburban bliss begins to unfold. Bizarre and brilliant, this is a story of conformity, sexual desire and trust.
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (Faber & Faber) – Narrated by a woman residing in a Zimbabwean prison after being falsely imprisoned for a murder. Awaiting the death penalty, Memory is fighting for her life and is recalling her life events to help an appeal. In this novel we see how she adjusts to life inside the prison’s walls and the mystery of events outside of it. There is also a journey back in time with Memory as a picture of her family life is built and the events leading up to her incarceration are revealed. A compelling story which keeps up the reader’s interest until the very end.
Full reviews of all my September reads can be found in my September 2015 archive.