The reading mojo is on its way back this month, although it has been quite heavily loaded on the crime fiction side of things. Out of the 15 books I read this month, 10 were by women writers and 12 were crime-related. That is the sort of comfort reading I crave, although I have also ventured into self-help, true crime and historical fiction.
Women on the cliff of change:
Katie Kitamura: A Separation – even this has a mystery at its heart, although of course it is about much more than death. When the narrator’s husband goes missing in Greece, she does not have the heart to admit to her in-laws that they have been separated for six months, so she travels there to find him… and in the process finds herself. A full review to come on Shiny New Books.
Rachel Cusk: Transit – Kitamura’s book reminded me very much of Cusk’s Outline, so I moved on to the second in the trilogy. This is also a series of vignettes about the people the narrator encounters as she sets to buy and renovate a property in London. A more subtle, less self-centred book than Kitamura’s.
Marie Darrieussecq: Men – read this one for France in the #EU27Project, about a French actress’s ill-fated passion for a black actor/film director as they prepare to film in the Congo.
Women in crime:
Susie Steiner: Missing, Presumed
Emma Flint: Little Deaths
Andrea Carter: Treacherous Strand – crime solved by a female solicitor on the Inishowen Peninsula in Ireland – review to come on Crime Fiction Lover
Aga Lesiewicz: Exposure – urban thriller set in hipsterland Shoreditch – gulped it down in one night, review to come on CFL
Louise Penny: The Beautiful Mystery
Harriet Lerner: Why Won’t You Apologize? – Psychologist Lerner examines why it’s so hard to offer a heartfelt apology and how to repair relationships and restore trust. Witty, candid and with some great personal examples, it’s a delight to read even for those who shun self-help books.
Helen Garner: This House of Grief – Deliberate revenge or tragic accident? Garner examines the court case of Robert Farquharson, who in 2005 drove into a dam with his three children. I expected this to be more of an examination of the background and family life which led to the tragic event described, but it really is a detailed account of the trial (plus appeal and retrial) and the reactions of the author and the people around her to the unfolding of procedures. Interesting, because it shows how subjective the law can be in court, how easily swayed public opinion (or the jury’s opinion). A great companion piece to Little Deaths.
Books for Review:
Matt Johnson: Deadly Game
Dylan H. Jones: Anglesey Blue
Antonin Varenne: Retribution Road
Just for fun:
Stephen May: Stronger Than Skin – psychological thriller from the man’s perspective, which makes a nice change. I admit that one of the two time frames, the Cambridge setting of the 1990s, played a big part in my decision, although I did not feel truly transposed into that world. A story of obsessive young love and more mature realisation of responsibilities and limitations. I did enjoy the poke at the pretentiousness of middle-class, middle-aged life, in particular through the unconventional character of Lulu, the photographer girlfriend of a former pupil of the main character Mark Chadwick. Goodness, that sounds complicated – I should have started that sentence elsewhere!
Terry Pratchett: Snuff – even when I pick something amusing from the library, there is still a crime element involved, as Sam Vimes finds a corpse waiting for him when he goes on holiday in the countryside.