We are having beautiful fall days here in the Hinterland, unfortunately with a lot of smoke in the air from regional fires. Cross country season is in full swing and the boys are doing really well. I have managed some good reading time and I finished A Canticle for Libowitz by Walter M Miller, Jr. (now down as the most interesting book group discussion ever) as well as The Hand That Trembles by Kjell Eriksson (not as good as The Caller). I have started Chapman’s Odyssey by Paul Bailey and Skios by Michael Frayn. I also really want to get to Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch but it is getting hard for me to have three books going at the same time unless one of them is fairly light. Himself is going off this week to a rocket launch and I am planning on telling eldest that I am not cooking for that time and spend it all reading. A wonderful thought if my to-do list wasn’t so long.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Litlove has posted a lovely review of The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty (who also wrote What Alice Forgot). The novel is about Ellen, a hypnotherapist in a budding relationship with a man who has a stalker from a previous relationship. The story is told from the perspective of the two women with the stalker becoming one of Ellen’s patients under an assumed name. How could I resist a book Litlove describes it like this:
There is something altogether good-natured about this novel, so tenderly amused by the absurdities of our relationships and utterly brilliant about the little struggles for power, the games of vulnerability and defensiveness that characterise them. Moriarty is wonderful on families and friends, hilariously accurate about their little ways, and in this novel they provide a sort of cushion of entertainment onto which the harder truths fall. So, this is ultimately a story about love in all its forms, and one that is easy to read and amusing, but it has much to say, with compassion, about the darker, more torturous recesses of love, too.
Words like these, “Like the best Irish novels, the prose here is restrained, stripped back, bare. Every word counts. Much of the plot moves forward by dialogue, and it is this dialogue which reveals so much about his well-drawn, believable characters — it’s like every time they open their mouths, they reveal their souls.” are one of the reasons I love to read book blogs. Already I have looked up the author, looked at his other works, checked my library (nope), checked the University Library (yes, I use Inter-library loan) all thanks to Kimbofo’s review of The Pilgrimage by John Broderick. Set in 1950′s Ireland, the novel is about an upstanding woman married to an invalid, except this upstanding woman seeks out other men to satisfy her sexual needs. Hidden lives, a claustrophobic atmosphere, a book banned by the Irish Censorship Board sounds like a good read.
I have never read anything by Emile Zola and that may have to change. Fleur Fisher reviews Zola’s novel Therese Raquin. A loveless arranged marriage, a woman trapped, a self-centered husband, a torrid affair, an act of violence, an incapacitated and suspicious mother are all parts of a novel exploring the consequences of guilt. Somehow this seems more accessible to me than Crime and Punishment – another novel I haven’t read. Although this novel was written in 1867, its content and themes seem timeless.
I have always been a fan of fairy tales gobbling up Andrew Lang’s various collection when I visited my Grandmother and tales from the Brothers Grimm at home when I was a child and reading Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales in college. It seems that modern fairy tales are a popular genre and I was delighted to see from Iris on Books that Emma Donoghue (author of Room) has” a collection of thirteen interrelated stories hiding familiar fairy tales beneath the surface.” This collection, Kissing the Witch, sounds complex and daring featuring brave, empowered women strong in their own right not needing a man to give them voice or rescue.
Finally, if you are interested in this year’s short list for The Booker Prize, the BBC website has an excellent description of the six novels