This book was heavy - both literally and figuratively - being 784 pages long and full of despair. I was full of sympathy for Theo and I think the strength of this lies in the writing style. There's a lot of sorrow and devastation in this book, each time seemingly coming out of nowhere and I was at times left surprised and shocked at the rawness of this book. The ending, after all the words previous, seemed a bit lacklustre. There were moments in the book that I found slow, but Tartt’s writing style certainly allowed the book to keep flowing. I loved this book and if you enjoyed The Secret History, I think it’s definitely one to try.
Following on from the heaviness of the former, I opted for a little lighter reading and it was the perfect transition. The Rosie Project is Graeme Simsion’s debut novel – a story about a man who embarks on a scientific project to find the perfect wife. It was funny and I really warmed to the characters. An easy read that you’ll get through quickly, but light hearted and just the right touch of heartbreak paired with humour.
This was a book I’d seen a lot of people reading on twitter and one that caught my interest. When I was little, I owned a dollhouse and was fascinated by it – creating little hand-sewn bedspreads and cushions and tiny fimo food. The book was less about the dollhouse than the miniaturist herself – though I was disappointed a little by the ending. I felt like a lot of questions about her went unanswered and the rest of the story snowballed and overtook the main plot. Despite this, it was another good read as well as being a little dark at times. I found the characters very interesting and loved the historical aspect to the book.
Following this, I settled down and devoured ‘Us’ by David Nicholls. I haven’t read One Day yet (it’s next on my pile) but I am very excited to after reading this one. I loved his writing style – I underlined quite a lot of quotes in this book because of the beautiful passages Nicholl’s seamlessly adds to the text. I felt both frustration and empathy with the protagonist, Douglas, and thought the whole book was wonderful. I’m pleased with the ending – without giving too much away here, I would have been disappointed if it had fixed the problem. A funny, heartbreaking story about marriage and families, one I’ll be keeping on my bookshelf for a light-hearted read in the future.
A very different book than my usual reads, and one that I think is suited more for the teen audience. It is Asher’s first novel and although it was quick to get through, I won’t be keeping this on my shelf. I found it quite hard to empathise with any of the characters, although I liked the idea behind the book. It was a little staged for me – I couldn’t see this happening in real life, as if it was too perfectly strewn out to happen like that. Despite that, there are very good messages in this book about mental health and the stigma attached to it. I probably would have liked this more if I was a younger, though the subject is dark I think any teenager filled with angst or suffering with depression themselves will find this relatable and helpful.
I read Elephant Moon before Christmas but it’s one that has stuck with me. Again, not my usual subject as it was set in Burma during the second world war and another read that was a first novel by the author, I thought Sweeney wrote it wonderfully. Based on a true story, it follows the adventure of Grace, a teacher who has to evacuate Burma with the schoolchildren in tow. Struggling in the dense forest trying to get to India, they use a herd of elephants to get them to safety. Although there were elements of the book that I didn’t understand due to my lack of knowledge on this aspect of the war, it certainly didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story. It was a real page turner and left me wanting to learn and understand more about the trials that happened in the 1940s.
(Illustration by me, please do not use or repost without permission)