I have to confess that I am struggling. I agree Hilary Mantel deserves the awards and praise she has won for this book. It is a meticulously researche...moreI have to confess that I am struggling. I agree Hilary Mantel deserves the awards and praise she has won for this book. It is a meticulously researched, dense, complex, multi-layered, ambitious novel which exudes confidence, experience and literary skill. It's probably a masterpiece. Her style is her very own - no repeated sentence structures here, nothing predictable or worn. It is such thickly woven prose. And yet...I can't immerse myself in the novel because of several stylistic quirks which make me too aware of the language. Most sentences are conventionally punctuated but sometimes two complete sentences with the same subject are linked with no punctuation at all. And the device of using 'he' for Thomas Cromwell trips and annoys me. Sometimes another 'he' hovers not far away: have we moved away from Thomas Cromwell or not when ‘he’ acts or speaks. And there are about six men called Thomas (with varying spellings). I don’t want to be over conscious of style when I read a novel. I don’t want my attention drawn to stylistic devices. I want style to be a clear window through which I watch the characters and events of the novel. Given the seriously positive reviews that this novel has received, the failing to appreciate it is probably mine. And I’ve already ordered Bring Up The Bodies.(less)
Oh dear. I was expecting so much from this one, billed as Jo Nesbo's most exciting thriller yet. Maybe I've read too many Harry Hole books. It's formu...moreOh dear. I was expecting so much from this one, billed as Jo Nesbo's most exciting thriller yet. Maybe I've read too many Harry Hole books. It's formulaic and by the time I read about the snowman with the human head on top, that was it. I gave up. Sorry, JB.(less)
Why am I reading thrillers at this late stage of life? I never read any until about a year ago and now I can't stop - even if they do give me nightmar...more Why am I reading thrillers at this late stage of life? I never read any until about a year ago and now I can't stop - even if they do give me nightmares. This is superbly crafted incredible rubbish. I read it in three nights, unable to put it down. I'd rate it the best Scarpetta novel with a dark undertow and a sense of doom more pervasive and gripping than the usual scary stuff. Beware - this one ends in tragedy.
Maybe it's me identifying with Kay Scarpetta - the tough cookie with the soft centre- that keeps me reading. I'm always looking for strong female leads and Scarpetta does not let us down. Or herself.
The Doctor, The Plutocrat, and The Mendacious Minister Glyn Pope
I was given this novel by the author, Glyn Pope. It is not the kind of book I would pic...moreThe Doctor, The Plutocrat, and The Mendacious Minister Glyn Pope
I was given this novel by the author, Glyn Pope. It is not the kind of book I would pick up in a library or book shops, but I'm delighted to have come across it. The novel is about a keen young doctor, straight out of medical school, who arrives in 1948 to work in a surgery on a small parochial housing estate outside Leicester. This is net-curtain world after the war, perfectly captured. The stilted manners and wariness and gossip are all here together with larger-than-life characters including the established Doctor McFadden whose ways with patients are well past their sell-by date and whose days are well laced with wee drams. Our good Doctor Latymer has to carve his own idealistic path. But it's not all small-scale domesticity and the walking-well sitting in the waiting room. There is post-war black market dealings and food poisoning and a crooked minister. It is a quiet book and that's why I like it. I pick it up at bed-time, confident I will enjoy the next chapters. (less)
OK, so this is how an author produces a book a year. I’m learning.
Having just finished Cry Wolf, I had a sense of deja vu from the beginning. Oh here...moreOK, so this is how an author produces a book a year. I’m learning.
Having just finished Cry Wolf, I had a sense of deja vu from the beginning. Oh here comes the same heroine. In Cry Wolf, ex-lawyer Laurel has messed up a court case, lost an important case and caused terrible grief to abused children whose case was thrown out. Leaving her job, she comes home to the Bayou to nurse her wounds and heal her troubled conscience. In Dark Horse, Estes has messed up an important police raid, got a fellow cop killed and been badly injured herself. Thrown out of her job, she comes back to live in a stables and heal her troubled conscience. In Cry Wolf, Laurel wants nothing more than to be left alone but bodies are washed up in the swamp and she gets pulled into the action. In Dark Horse, Estes wants nothing more than to be left alone but a valuable horse is bumped off and a young woman goes missing and she is reluctantly pulled into the action. Laurel is petite but tough, fiery, daring, unspeakably brave and ‘a tiger’. Estes has been put back together after being run over by a crook in a 4x4, but even with horrific injuries she is petite but tough, fiery, daring, unspeakably brave and ‘a tiger’. Men either hate or love our heroines. They are bitches. They are angels. Really complex stuff.
I don’t know whether to carry on. I bet Estes falls in love with a tall, edgy, difficult handsome guy with a tragic past and chiseled features. There will be breathless rides in cars, of the romantic and terrifying kind, and steamy sex. But I’m only guessing.
By the way, Hoag, thank you for telling us that women of seventy shouldn’t wear bikinis for fear of offending anyone who catches a glimpse of them. ‘The woman who stood in the door was was long past the age and shape anyone would care to see her in a two-piece swimming suit’. Elegant sentence too! ‘Flab and sagging skin hung on her bent frame like a collection of half-deflated leather balloons.’ Maybe she was happy in the sun. Well done for making us all stare at our aging bodies again.
I'll get my feet set in concrete for writing this.(less)