Recently Reading...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

I'm always reading and it's one of the greatest pleasures in my life.
I thought I'd share some of the books I've been reading lately and maybe get some suggestions of books to read next!

First up is The Rosie Project which I read on holiday a couple of months ago and it is the perfect holiday read. Set in Australia, Don Tillman is a genetics professor on the autistic spectrum, most likely Aspergers Syndrome, but he doesn't know it (a funny moment is when he delivers a lecture on Aspergers, listing quality after quality that he exhibits, without twigging). Having reached middle age without even getting to date number 2, he decides he wants to get married and creates a thorough and frankly tactless questionnaire designed to find the perfect wife. Rosie, who he meets at the University, smokes, is a sometime vegetarian and leads a pretty wild life; she definitely doesn't meet the criteria...but when has that ever mattered to Love?

A light and charming read, The Rosie Project is a testament to the unpredictability of love and Don's way of viewing the world makes for an interesting voice. A quick and untaxing read, it is perfect summer holiday read as I mentioned.

My favourite book of the three, Maggie O'Farrell is a beautiful writer. Set in the heatwave of 1976 in London, the sticky, claustrophobic, unbearable heat sears through every page of the book. Robert Riordan goes out to get a newspaper as he does every day...but this time he doesn't come home. His wife Greta, the Irish matriarch of the family might know where he is, but she is not letting on. Robert's sudden and out of character disappearance brings home his children in the search for him, and the complicated dynamics of a close, working class family are crafted so perfectly. 
Michael Francis, a father himself whose marriage is on the brink of collapse due to a one time infidelity and a wife whose resentment has built over the years, is the only brother and the peacemaker. The sisters, once so close are now estranged and the reason why is teased out slowly, throughout the book. There's Monica, the eldest, a goody two shoes to her siblings, who is now caught in her own struggling second marriage, trying to be a step-mother to two girls who hate her and Aiofe, the wild, youngest sister who has relocated to New York. As the book is set in the 1970's we can understand why her obvious dyslexia has not been diagnosed, but the descriptions of her life as she tries to struggle through without anyone realising, are heartbreaking.
As the family join forces to find their father, the intricate writing delivers a portrait of a complicated and realistic family. The plotline of the missing father actually feels very secondary to the family dynamics and when the reason Robert is missing is uncovered, it is a slight let down, but overall the book is brilliantly written and well worth a read.

Lastly, The Husband's Secret, another book set in Australia, funnily enough. Centred around the generations of families who have attended a Catholic primary school in Sydney. This book is sweet, with some nice character development, but was a little too chick-lit for me. The big secret seemed a little unlikely to have gone undiscovered for so long but did link the characters together in a feasible but not obvious way. The three protagonists are all female, but without any of the complexity of my favourite women in modern fiction. Cecilia, the super mum and Tupperware queen, who knows everything about everyone and manages to keep all the plates spinning effortlessly, Tess, who suffers from social anxiety but manages to run a business and who has escaped to her mothers after discovering her husband and cousin, who are also her business partners, have fallen in love and want her blessing and Rachel, who never recovered from her daughters murder and is now dealing with her son moving her beloved grandson away to New York. The most interesting feature of this book, is when the narrators voice changes from describing the actions of thoughts of the characters to that of Fate, explaining what would have happened to the characters if things had been different, a Sliding Doors type of peek at what might have happened.

More recent reads coming soon!

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