I See You … a review

I got this book on my Kindle as I had an offer code to use. So it cost me very little money, I liked the blurb and started reading. The plot very quickly sucked me in. If you’re  a fan of recent books like Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, Sharp Objects etc – you will really enjoy this book.

The premise is simple. The protagonist, on her way home one day on the London Underground, thinks she sees her own blurry photo with a singular website that looks like an adult website in the Classifieds section. She is a woman in her mid-40s, with two kids and lives with them and her partner in a suburban block. All very normal. She becomes more and more anxious as every day it is a different woman, until one day, she sees on the news that one of them is dead. What is happening?

The book is very well-written. So much so, that I was on the Underground a couple of weeks after and felt uneasy thinking about the probability of the crime described. It is very hard to guess who the criminal is, and the plot is sufficiently tight to allow no person to be beyond suspicion. Obviously, there is a broody police officer with their own demons, as always.

Overall, really good travel/summer holiday read.

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Mad About the Boy … a review

Bridget Jones returns. Need I say more? I genuinely thought that with Bridget getting married and with a baby, things had more-or-less reached a head. And boy, was I wrong? Somehow, in true Bridget fashion, she has managed to land herself in a situation where she is still self-critical, under-confident, single and on the market. Oh, and she got nits!

The fact that I write about Bridget like she’s my friend is testimony to Fielding’s great talent. The character remains relatable, lovable, and totally flawed in a way we all are. And yet, as life goes on and we are all older and none the wiser, there is a certain sense of misplaced maturity even in Jones. Motherhood adds a special extra dimension, and the old friends and the ever charming sleazy ex-boss Daniel bring familiarity.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I had no idea it had come out, I just happened to pick it up from the local book swap shelf. You’re probably wondering about Mark Darcy but I won’t tell you or it will spoil it. But rest assured, it won’t be as you expected and the ending is quite heart-warming too. Enjoy!

An Atlas of Impossible Longing … a review

It has been a long time since I read an Indian author writing in English. I cannot say I have read a lot of them anyway, but Amitav Ghosh has always been close to my heart. And I still remember reading The Hungry Tide a long time ago and how it touched me.

This novel by Anuradha Roy touches on some similar themes. The idea of caste in rural Bengal, the frequent floods, the ache of unrequited love are all similar and deftly captured. The story of two generations of young men and women, whose live just meander along with little or no meaning, with the passage of time is written in a poignant way.

There is a Macondo-esque village in this novel, a kind of place that has life infused in it easily and one can almost imagine it standing as a still witness to the coming and goings of its characters. I also loved the descriptions and imagery in the passing of the seasons and the effects upon the soft green lands.

Roy’s writing is very beautiful, and it lends itself well to the theme of longing. I hadn’t even heard of her but will definitely keep an eye out for more of her works. I’ll leave you with this quote…

“A veritable atlas. What rivers of desire, what mountains of ambition. Want, want, hope, hope, this is what your palm say, your palm is nothing but an atlas of impossible longings.”

Twenty Four Shadows … a review

A very long time ago (over ten years now), I read ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’ by Sidney Sheldon. It is based on DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) previously also known as MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). At the time, it blew my mind. It is still a book I recommend to folks. Since Tanya’s marketeer got in touch about her latest work, I have been engrossed in her latest novel based on DID.

Like her previous novels, Leave of Absence and My Life in a Nutshell, Peterson takes up a cause of sorts and through fiction, brings it to life in both an educated and poignant way. While Sheldon is a writer writing about mental illness, Peterson is a mental illness counsellor writing about it. It makes a difference. Instead of a fast paced thriller with strange twists and turns, in Twenty Four Shadows we see the simple and tight-knit world of Isaac Bittman fall to pieces slowly as he comes to terms with his illness. There is no excitement, just the terrible reality of friends and loved ones learning to deal with what is most peoples’ unthinkable. They watch Isaac slip away, change, become angry, sad, upset, and violent and remain helpless.

With every mental illness patient also comes their carer, the person, or people, whose lives are ruined in hanging on with the people they care about, and whose illnesses become their own. The story of Isaac’s wife Reese is also beautifully brought out as she struggles with her own needs and wants along with those of their child Dominic’s. The family’s dynamics are brought to life in a masterful way. And we feel as though we are part family as we get on the long and painful road to recovery with the Bittmans.

Peterson writes a well-spun tale, one that brings out the vulnerability of the patients, the perseverance of their carers, and the reactions of society. Having suffered from PTSD herself and spent time in therapy, she has been on both sides of the table, a certified counselor. It shows. I would recommend it as a great book to pick up if you are interested in the themes of DID, parenting, or inspirational reads.

Entry Island … a review

I enjoyed reading The Lewis Trilogy greatly. And so I picked up this book, quite pleased that it was a standalone read. It is a long book, and so it was good that it was one-off. I was not wishing to be caught up in a long saga-like tale just now, as I have a lot of TBR on my plate. Anyway, this book is about our protagonist and police detective Sime (pronounced Sh-ee-m) who is sent to Entry Island because, like the islanders, her speaks English. Other islands in the area are part of the Qubecois Canada and so, speak French.

A man has been murdered and suspicion falls on his wife, Kirsty, who has no other alibi and has enough reason to want to kill her husband. But from the very first meeting, Sime wants to believe her. And strangely, feels that he knows her, even though both of them agree that they have definitely never met before.

Also part of the police team on the island is Sime’s ex-wife Marie-Ange, and when was that ever a good thing!? Caught in between these two women, one of whom might be a murderer, Sime goes through bouts of insomnia. Interspersed with the scenes in his dreams are scenes from his ancestor’s diary, which he has started reading.

Personally, I loved the ancestor’s story. It begins in the highlands of Scotland, centuries ago. The backdrop is the potato famine followed by the highland clearances. And as always, a poor farmer’s boy in love with the landowner’s daughter… I had not read much of either of those bits of Scottish history and so I really enjoyed reading about them. Well, no so much enjoyed as be distressed by, but you know what I mean.

Overall, I thought this book wasn’t as riveting as the earlier trilogy, but the interspersed stories, dream sequences, evil ex-wife, I enjoyed this book a lot!

Americosis … a review

There’s a new author to watch out for! Haydn Wilks, whose Americosis is a sort of prelude to a longer series, was a really good read. Here’s the blurb:

 “A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.

He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.

His aides think he’s crazy.

The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.”

That was enough to get me quite interested. It is a novella, 200 odd pages long, and did not take a great deal of time to finish. But what it did was really build the curiosity up to read the actual series for when that’s out.

This book has three parallel storylines. The one with the naked man was the least humorous, as it involved some scary monstrous animals and little children. Quite dark and strangely comical, it also reminded me of The 100-year-old Man, which I enjoyed greatly.

The other two plotlines are connected – one of the carriers of the disease and the Presidential candidate’s psychiatrist are married to each other. The interesting thing to note is that I could somehow predict what was going to happen, but not quite. It is definite that the sexually transmitted virus story will involve a lot of couplings between humans and not-quite-humans. And moving forward, that will make for an interesting story. And I always love a good psy thriller, so I’m hoping the Presidential candidate loses it and then my favourite character can figure out how to fix him without his electorate finding out.

This book has made for a brilliant teaser; I recommend it highly. You can also read an interview with the author about his previous book, here.