Secrets and lies permeate this entire story. “Mom had probably known most of his secrets just being married to him for so long, and he had slowly been filling Catherine’s ears with tidbits, I knew close to nothing.” The author of Here Lies a Father, McKenzie Cassidy, might very well been talking about the process of constructing his first novel when he reveals Ian’s state of mind as well as the main thematic elements concerning all of the lies he has heard his whole life. “The truth didn’t matter as much as the way a story made you feel…”
Sofia Segovia uses interior monologue, an excellent technique for showing readers what goes on in characters’ hearts and minds. Sometimes, though, the time shifts in a character’s thoughts make the story hard to follow. In some sections it takes careful reading to distinguish between the recent past and the less recent past. Segovia could have put the wartime parts of the story in the present and the older characters’ memories in the past, but perhaps use of the present would have spoiled the story’s “once upon a time” quality.
Though set in Naples, The Lying Life of Adults is not about friends rising from the slums, as in Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. Nor is it about the value of returning to one’s roots. Giovanna, the narrator-protagonist, who is twelve to sixteen during the novel’s time frame, is being raised in a progressive way by her middle-class, secular, intellectual parents.
Persaud tightly packs an abundance of emotions into this novel where laughter, anger, and tears were freely expressed throughout. Evenly impressive is Persaud’s use of food throughout the novel as a love language between friends and family. Detailed descriptions of how to create some of the Caribbean’s most famous dishes litter the story, and always during a time when a character needs comfort the most.
This might seem like another predictable tale about how the bourgeois people of the city don’t know how to adapt to a small town, but the author, Japanese writer Hiroko Oyamada, manages to turn The Hole into a surreal and fantastical story that is as intense as a dream and intoxicating as a hallucination.
In her preface, she tells us that this account is based on research and her father’s experience as an adolescent in pre-war Germany, although he shared little of his memories. But Gerber wants to remember and record this time, as does Karl, in order to honor the memories of those who perished in the hands of the Nazis, and also those who, like Karl, survived, but were forever haunted by those they lost.
Characterisation, themes and messages conveyed are executed beautifully in this novel. With Starr, being the voice of this book, sharing her insight on the life-altering events which occur throughout this journey. Our main character’s relationships with others are demonstrated beautifully, with rapid-fire dialogue and pop-culture references, all of which I adored. Yet again, the characters are easy to love and their development and arcs throughout is done so brilliantly.
As a whole, I really enjoyed the story and setting of the text, as well as the themes being expressed, which highlight particular areas/issues in relation to modern society. On average, I don’t normally read this type of genre, GWST has altered my perspective on several things and encouraged me to seek out more sci-fi, dystopian, psychological thrillers.
The Disaster Tourist, the first novel of the South Korean author Yun Ko-Eun to be translated into English, is a sharp, intricate, and too realistic story on how capitalism’s ravenousness can turn almost every person into a disposable mannequin and almost every land into waste disposal.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is an incredible novel and my expectations were lived up to, indeed. Although considered an ‘adult’ read the text can be suitable for young adults, dependant on the readers taste and other sensitivities to certain themes. Gail Honeyman creates such marvellous characters who once only a few pages into the book, I felt like I’d known them for years.