More book reviews… some adult titles this time.
Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm
This is the most Potteresque of Rowling’s grownup books in style, though not in content, and it makes for delightful reading. Cormoran Strike and his marvellous assistant Robin return to tackle a mystery involving an elusive author and a circle of writers and publishers – an area that Rowling knows well. It’s immensely enjoyable, full of pleasing twists and turns, and leaves me eagerly anticipating the next book.
Nuala Ni Chonchuir – The Closet of Savage Mementos
Beautifully-written novel about an Irish woman who finds herself pregnant in 1990s Scotland, and what happens next. Short but intriguing, with lots on memory, art and mothers.
Stephen King – 22.11.63
It’s been a while since I read a King novel but this one sucked me in entirely – I could not put it down. Jake Epping is a high school English teacher whose favourite diner turns out to have a portal beneath it that leads to 1958 – and when his friend, the diner owner, reveals he’s dying, it’s up to Jake to fulfil his mission – to save JFK from being assassinated, along with saving a few more souls along the way. Sounds cheesy but it becomes immensely plausible, and the life Jake builds for himself in the 50s and 60s is fascinating. Even though there’s a heavy dose of nostalgia for the good ol’ days in America, there’s also a reminder of how society has progressed with certain things (racial politics, medicine). The ending left me a little bit annoyed, though – without giving too much away, I think it would have been infinitely more interesting if the new future had been drastically different, leaving Jake with a really tough choice to make. But it’s a great read, and one I’d highly recommend.
Morgan McCarthy – Strange Girls and Ordinary Women
Three women’s lives intertwine in this atmospheric tale of suspicion and betrayal. Opening up with Alice, a middle-aged woman who suspects her husband’s having an affair, the story then moves to Vic, living in Madeira and in love with her best friend Michael, but incapable of telling him. Vic is suspicious of his new girlfriend, who seems to harbour a secret… and then we move back to England, where Kaya is determined to do whatever she can to escape from a destructive home life. As the novel progresses, the links between the women become clearer. An interesting and beautifully-written read.