The winter months are such a good time to sit and cosy up with a good book and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. It’s been a mixed bag so I have a few things to say this month! Without further ado, here is what I read in October and November.
Postcards by a Stranger by Imogen Clark
This novel shared the story of a protagonist who discovers postcards in her father’s attic that appear to be from her supposedly dead mother – but she can’t ask her dad about them because he has Alzheimer’s. It’s a heartbreaking and put it back together kind of look at families. We see the good, the bad and the ugly, which is what being family is all about. Some secrets go on far too long and create such complicated narratives and I loved how this explored that. I just get it. It’s a really beautiful book and I definitely recommend it.
Milkman by Anna Burns
I always try to read the Man Booker Prize winner each year and this year was no different. It also helped that this book had such a beautiful pink sunset cover! This novel has a very frustrating narrative – but it is set in a very frustrating time, Belfast 1970’s. Relationships between countries are tense and so are interpersonal relationships. Everyone is suspicious and no one wants to be ‘beyond the pale’ so no one says anything – the protagonist doesn’t either. No specifics, no names. I enjoyed the highlighting of complicated sexual harassment which is not physical and the stubbornness of the protagonist who would not correct the neighbours’ gossip about her. Having also been the subject of harmful gossip in a small town, I really feel for her, and the complicated internal battle that goes on in your mind is spot on. It was slow in places and brutal and quick in others. If you’ve got the time and the right mindset for a challenge I highly recommend it.
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
This historical gothic fiction novel was such a quick read and a good one that kept me hooked and suspicious to the end. We follow the troubled protagonist find her feet in a social setting unknown to her and run away with her fantasies a little. All the while, we have a primal sense that there’s something troubling under the surface of all the interactions. It was creepy and well written and I highly recommend it.