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Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Literary fiction, Historical fiction

Pages: 567 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 9th February 2017 by Doubleday (UK) & 22nd August 2017 by Hogarth Press (US)


The Heart’s Invisible Furies is beautiful, heartbreaking, dark, and occasionally humorous.

If you follow my reviews, you should know already that literary fiction isn’t my favorite genre to read; I probably read, at most, one or two literary fiction book per year. But when I finished A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne, which I enjoyed very much, at the end of last year, I knew that I had to give his most highly-praised work, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, a read and I’m glad I did.

“But for all that we had, for all the luxury to which we were accustomed, we were both denied love, and this deficiency would be scorched into our future lives like an ill-considered tattoo inscribed on buttocks after a drunken night out, leading each of us inevitably toward isolation and disaster.”

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Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman


Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”

I would’ve never picked up this book had I not enjoyed another book of Backman’s so much. But Beartown couldn’t have been more different from A Man Called Ove; honestly, I wouldn’t have even guessed they were by the same author. That being said, they were both masterfully done. A Man Called Ove made my heart swollen and tender in the best way. Beartown shattered my heart and sharpened the fragments into deadly shrapnel that threatened to rip into those I love. It absolutely wrecked me. And not at all in a healthy, cathartic way. No, I wasn’t myself the entire time I was reading this. I was barely suppressed rage.

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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep


The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit US/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review.

It’s.
Not.
Fair.
I know that life isn’t.
But stories are. Or if they’re not fair, they’re not fair with purpose.
I wish I could tell better where stories end and life begins.

Sometimes you just need to escape into a good book. But if you’re Charles Sutherland, sometimes you inadvertently facilitate the escape of fictional characters into the real world. Imagine being able to read out your favorite character from a story and have an actual conversation with them. That sounds like a dream come true for most bookworms, but it’s been a nightmare that Rob, Charley’s big brother and our first person perspective character, has spent his life trying to avoid. He’s had to clean up Charley’s fictional messes a multitude of times throughout his life, but the current fictional mess they find themselves in is the zaniest and more far reaching, and frankly the most dangerous, that the Sutherland family has ever faced. Their world is going to be changed forever if they can’t figure out a way to thwart what’s coming.

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have very strong feelings regarding Southern fiction. I love Louisiana and the entirety of the American South. In my opinion, there’s something magical and incredibly atmospheric about the South. However, I also see the failings of the area, the poverty and lack of education and propensity to hate whatever is different. It’s the kind of place where people will bend over backwards to help a person in need, but only if said person is an accepted part of the community. People who are different are often met with ignorance, distrust, and judgment, and that’s if people decide to notice you at all. Southerners are old pros at pretending a problem doesn’t exist if they can just ignore it hard enough. Thankfully, my community has grown past this, and it far more accepting of those of different religions and ethnicities and sexualities than we were even a decade ago. Even here in the South, things can change.

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Book Review: The Nickel Boys

Book Review: The Nickel Boys

 

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: 1st August 2019 (Little, Brown Book Group)

‘Even in death the boys were trouble.’

The Nickel Boys opens with an unearthing of bones. In this physical evidence, held and photographed and catalogued, is an impossibility: denial. Cue shock and horror at this ‘revelation’, a ‘hidden’ past in the form of dead black boys.
Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Sparrow (Book 1 of 2)

Genre: Science fiction, literary fiction

Published: 20th anniversary edition, 2016 by Ballantine Books (first published in 1996)


“Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

“But the sparrow still falls.”

The Sparrow is a multi-award-winning science fiction novel about first contact. After reading it, I could understand why. I came across this title over two separate occasions. First was when a friend recommended it to me many years ago, but I’ve forgotten about it. And then it was mentioned in the Great Course audiobook for How Great Science Fiction Works, which I’ve recently finished, under the sub-topic of ‘Religion in Science Fiction’. The context in which The Sparrow was discussed in that Course finally tipped me over to pick it up.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

“Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is quite possibly the most achingly beautiful novel I’ve ever read, and I find it mind-boggling that anything this lovely could possibly be a debut novel. There are a scant handful of novels I’ve experienced in my life (The Name of the Wind, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, and The Night Circus come to mind) that were breathtaking debuts of this caliber, and they remain my very favorite books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m so incredibly happy to add Alix E. Harrow’s novel to that list.

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Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book way more than I actually did. There were elements that I really enjoyed, don’t get me wrong. The premise was great, and the writing was masterful. It just didn’t land, unfortunately. While I didn’t hate this book, neither was I able to love it. It wasn’t bad; it was merely forgettable.

“We are so brief. A one-day dandelion. A seedpod skittering across the ice. We are a feather falling from the wing of a bird. I don’t know why it is given to us to be so mortal and to feel so much. It is a cruel trick, and glorious.”

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Literary fiction is very hit or miss for me. I’ve read quite a few that I desperately wanted to like, but I just couldn’t. There’s this level of pretension found in the writing of many such titles that I find difficult to stomach. However, I have been fortunate to find some absolutely gorgeous books in the genre, a handful of which are now among my very favorite books on the planet.

“Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds.”

So where did Sing, Unburied, Sing fall in this mixed bag of a genre? While it doesn’t rank among my favorite books ever, I did very much enjoy it. There’s something about reading a novel that shares your life in some way, whether that entails a shared heritage or setting or lifestyle, that just speaks so deeply to readers. For me, that comes in the form of novels set in the American South. Ward writes stories firmly rooted in the South, and though this was the first of her novels I’ve read, it won’t be the last, because she does a phenomenal job of capturing both the beauty and the repugnance of the rural South.

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A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A brutally dark and realistically gripping book about stories, writing, publishing, and ambition.

I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this book if it weren’t for my Goodreads friend—Manju—who recommended it to me saying: “I know this is farthest from what you usually read but do give this a try. You won’t regret it. :)” And word by word she’s right. I haven’t heard of the name John Boyne until a month ago, I’m not a reader of contemporary or literary fiction; I usually end up putting them in my DNF pile or rating them lower than 3 stars but this book was an exception, it was simply brilliant and it worked really well for me. The next two paragraphs isn’t a spoiler from the book but an unfortunate event that happened to me years ago. In my opinion, this will give you a general idea of the kind of story you’re getting in this book.

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