“A fast didn’t go fast; it was the slowest thing there was. Fast meant to shut the door fast, firmly. A fastness, a fortress. To fast was to hold fast“A fast didn’t go fast; it was the slowest thing there was. Fast meant to shut the door fast, firmly. A fastness, a fortress. To fast was to hold fast to emptiness, to say no and no and no again.” — Emma Donoghue
There is no denying that Emma Donoghue is a wonderful writer, she has a turn of phrase that makes me re-read passages again and again and has a way with words that completely transports the reader to another time and place. This book, though, wasn't my favourite of hers and I felt that for such a fascinating subject very broad brushstrokes were used to tell a small and intimate tale. The pacing was also a little off as it started slowly but raced away towards an ending that left me a little dissatisfied. This being said it is still a really good book and absolutely worth reading for the wonderful characters, interesting subject matter and evocative descriptions of the time and place. If you like this then I would recommend picking up Slammerkin which is absolutely fabulous. ...more
Eleanor Oliphant is one of those characters that leaps from the page and straight into your heart. Awkward, naïve, odd, peculiar and at times just dowEleanor Oliphant is one of those characters that leaps from the page and straight into your heart. Awkward, naïve, odd, peculiar and at times just downright strange she reflects back those parts of us we'd rather not and yet all too easily recognise. In her direct manner of speech and her unabashed straight talking she often makes observations which are simple but deeply profound. My favourite is on the subject of tea:
"The kettle clicked off and I warmed the teapot, then spooned in some first flush Darjeeling, my mind still focused on the putative beauty of my slumbering troubadour. Childish laughter from my colleagues began to intrude upon my thoughts, but I assumed this was to do with my choice of beverage. Knowing no better, they are content to drop a bag of poorest quality blended tea into a mug, scald it with boiling water, and then dilute any flavour by adding fridge cold milk. Once again, for some reason, it is I who am considered strange. But if you're going to drink a cup of tea, why not take every care to maximize the pleasure?"
I don't want to say to much about the story as the pleasure lies in watching Eleanor navigate a complicated and often frightening world but I will say that this is an absolute delight of a book that I will be recommending to many people. ...more
A wonderful collection of the non-fiction writings of a truly fabulous author. Some pieces will really resonate with you, others will be appreciated fA wonderful collection of the non-fiction writings of a truly fabulous author. Some pieces will really resonate with you, others will be appreciated for the beauty of their writing and some will stay with you even after the book has been forgotten. I finished this book with a list of new books to read, new music to listen to, new places to go and a desire to seek out non-fiction writings of my other favourite authors. In parts it gets a little repetitive (hence the 4 not 5 stars) but then you come across a piece like 'A Wildness of Mirrors' and you remember exactly why Gaiman's writing is so special. ...more