Our Kind of Traitor is pretty good as a thriller, mind: the characterisation and suspense are terrific; le Carre can undoubtedly spin a good yarn. There’s even a Hitchcockian/John Buchan-style adventure vibe to it: Perry and Gail, two unlikely operatives, pitched against sinister forces.
Overall, the stories paint very clear pictures, sometimes reading more like prose poetry, sometimes like anecdotes, sometimes with surprising turns, sometimes just resonating in lush language.
At this point I really must comment on Weizenbaum’s prose: it’s excellent. So, too, is the parallel drawn between the frigid landscape and Aurora’s emotional white-out. Despite the fact that Weizenbaum must have spent hours agonising over every sentence the narrative is seamless. Almost every page has a gem.
A semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award content, Take the Monkeys and Run obviously pleased a few readers. While this is no literary masterpiece, it is essentially well-written with engaging, often larger that life characters, and most importantly is laugh out loud funny.
The book is rich with the New York City setting, from exhibitions at the Public Library and the Whitney museum, to the office blocks and cafes across Fifth Avenue, through the Upper West Side. Hubschman really knows these streets.
I can honestly say that I’ve never had the experience of actually feeling as though this was happening as I read, as if there was much more left to discover within this story if I kept reading and peeling away more layers. Her prose is elegant, her plot simple yet complicated, and the twists and turns within the story keep the reader highly engaged as the events unfold, with a very unexpected ending.
It may be one big rollercoaster ride of gunfights, races against time and intricate trap systems, but unlike Reilly’s previous novels, there are also several moments of reflection; most notably when everything has settled down after the hectic beginning of the novel and members of the team set out to research a mysterious inscription relating to ‘The Five Greatest Warriors’.
The Summer Kitchen is an enjoyable beach read that can give readers some hope that you can get through the worst imaginable event of your life. Its message is all the more poignant because it is based on the author’s actual experience.
The novel moves fast through conversations and acts, featuring intriguing characters, and often there is believable emotional weight as well as interesting political speculations. Carter’s use of language (in narrative and dialogue) is at a high-level with only of few points of stiffness.
Shreve has the uncanny ability to capture the delicacy of the human experience. Many of her novels focus on how a decision made in a split second can alter the course of people’s lives forever.