Amazing amounts of reading this month – that’s what business travel does for you! 17 books in total.
6 books in translation or foreign language – 35%
Raymond Queneau: Zazie dans le métro – absurd and fun
Hanne Ǿrstavik: The Blue Room – sinister and claustrophobic
Domingo Villar: Water-Blue Eyes – atmospheric and world-weary
Lena Divani: Seven Lives and One Great Love – delightful and witty
Françoise Dorin: Va voir maman, papa travaille
Way ahead of its time – this book was published in 1976 and discusses the ambivalence of motherhood, of gender inequality, of combining career ambitions and work satisfaction with parenting in a way which makes the current crop of domestic goddesses seem self-deluded and vapid. A very honest account, which makes you question your own assumptions.
Paulus Hochgatterer: The Sweetness of Life
Or should that be called the ‘sadness of life’? Highly unusual crime fiction – more of a meditation on the nature of evil, on mental illness and the darkness inherent in all of life. Perfectly captures the depression and neuralgia of small-town Austria during winter and introduces an interesting detecting duo: psychiatrist Horn and police inspector Kovacs.
1 Non- Fiction:
Summer Pierre: The Artist in the Office – inspiring and no-nonsense
1 Paranormal Thriller:
Lauren Owen: The Quick – Victorian Gothic with vampires
2 Psychological Rollercoasters:
Tamar Cohen: The Broken – cringingly true-to-life
Miriam Toews: All My Puny Sorrows – emotionally charged
7 Additional Crime Novels (total crime this month: 53%)
Dan Smith: The Darkest Heart – to be reviewed on Crime Fiction Lover website; an ominous journey through the heartland of Brazil, echoes of Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’
Linwood Barclay: Trust Your Eyes – unusual premise, stylish execution
D.S. Nelson: The Blake Hetherington Mysteries – charming cosy series featuring a pedantic hat-maker
Sam Alexander: Carnal Acts – great marketing campaign, still waiting to hear who Sam Alexander is
Edward Wilson: The Whitehall Mandarin – more in the thoughtful Le Carré mould than in the heroic American style, but at some point I will write a blog post about why I find spy thrillers in general a little disappointing
M.J. McGrath: The Boneseeker – unusual characters and locations, lovingly described
Taylor Stevens: The Innocent – a tougher than nails heroine not always acting in strictly legal fashion, trying to save a child abducted by a cult; to be reviewed on Crime Fiction Lover
Perhaps it’s inevitable that, when you go through so many books a month, you end up wading through an average books portion – books that are OK but nothing to really get excited about. This has been such a month. There were also a couple of books I really did not enjoy very much (luckily, not that many). My crime fiction pick of the month (if you haven’t yet come across this meme at Mysteries in Paradise, go check it out: a great source of recommended reads to add to your TBR list) is probably Linwood Barclay’s Trust Your Eyes. I felt from the start that I was in the hands of a competent and elegant storyteller. For a few choice Linwood Barclay quotes from Geneva Book Fair, look here.