Barry Fairbrother, a prominent member of the Pagford community, dies in his early 40s and leaves the town in shock. Some members of the local councilBarry Fairbrother, a prominent member of the Pagford community, dies in his early 40s and leaves the town in shock. Some members of the local council see Fairbrother's death as an opportunity to fill the council with like-minded people who will assist in separating The Fields. the problematic council estate, from Pagford.
There are so many complex relationships in this book between parents and children (no matter how old the offspring are), siblings, spouses and between neighbours. When discussing this book at a book group, I encountered some readers who felt that the amount of conflict in this book was completely unrealistic. Some people that I talked to felt that there simply couldn't be this amount of pain and misery in so many people's' lives in such a small area. I disagreed. When I read 'The Casual Vacancy', I was blown away that a woman who wrote about wizards and warlocks could produce such an accurate portrayal of modern-day life.
I truly believe that many people lead these lives of quiet desperation. They may look as though they are gliding through life but beneath the surface lurks fear and deep, dark secrets.
OK, so perhaps she included every kind of sadness and frustration known to man but would anyone read a novel where everyone was happy all the time? Affairs, spineless men, drug addicts, child abuse, bullying, death and the pervasiveness of the internet in people's' lives are all in here - as well as out there.
The characters have obviously been well-considered and not one of them is anything less than believable. There are characters that are nothing but despicable but - let's face it - those people exist. Rowling's overriding message appears to be that small actions can have massive implications.
Having never read a J.K. Rowling book before, I wasn't too interested in the hype regarding 'The Casual Vacancy' until I saw J.K. talking about it on BBC's 'Culture Show'. The plot really interested me and I was surprised that the writer famous for 'Harry Potter' had taken such a change in direction. But, despite reviews to the contrary, this change in direction was an absolutely inspired idea. You must read it. ...more
I was asked to read this Kindle book as a favour to a friend and what a joy it was to read!
Cheryl Reid is a poet over at Close to the Bone (http://wwwI was asked to read this Kindle book as a favour to a friend and what a joy it was to read!
Cheryl Reid is a poet over at Close to the Bone (http://www.craigrobertdouglas.com/) and has only recently announced herself as a writer. Cheryl started out as a humourous poet before branching out into publishing her diary.
Imagine Bridget Jones as a fifty-four year old single mother who writes poetry. That's Cheryl in a nutshell. The diary not only contains funny anecdotes about her life as a dog owner, chocoholic and woman. The lovely thing about this easy-to-read Kindle e-book is that it is real life and it really tugs at the heart-strings.
This account of single life at middle age in a credit crunch is really honest and funny. It's a real joy to read. Well done Cheryl! ...more
I didn’t know what to expect from this book but bought it to see what all the fuss was about. Whoever is promoting Rosamund Lupton is doing a fine jobI didn’t know what to expect from this book but bought it to see what all the fuss was about. Whoever is promoting Rosamund Lupton is doing a fine job; she’s been featured in lots of magazines in the last few months – telling readers how she completed this novel with the help of her school-run mum friends who helped her with childcare and other mummy-esque duties of costumes for the school play and so on while she wrote the story. Endorsements from Richard and Judy and Radio 4 followed, making this one of last year’s bestsellers.
‘Sister’ is the story of uptight Beatrice’s frantic search for her younger sister Tess after she gets a phone call on a quiet Sunday telling her she’s disappeared. Boarding the first flight to London from New York, Beatrice leaves behind her neat life and enters Tess’s, totally unaware of how little she knew about her sister. This story is not only about the bond between sisters but also Beatrice’s journey as she struggles to reconcile her need for order with her sister’s messy disappearance.
I was so impressed with this novel. It’s crime fiction combined with something else – beautiful prose. It’s easy to read and difficult to put down. The narrative, although written as a non-linear letter from Beatrice to Tess, flows beautifully and the ending is a real surprise. I did work out the perpetrator but I didn’t expect what was coming. This novel deals with a lot of difficult issues, it is so much more than a fluffy chick lit novel.
I have to admit to crying through some parts of the book, so strong is Lupton’s ability to create a convincing story. The relationships she creates between Beatrice, Tess and their mother are so realistic, there’s no idealisation or sense of perfection – it is what it is and that’s so refreshing. Many novelists, particularly when writing crime, fall into the trap of making the missing person a saint, with no flaws but Lupton avoids this pitfall.
The only author I can think to compare her to is Jodi Picoult but in fairness, Lupton’s style is far beyond the formulaic prose of JP. ...more
A new resident of The Longcroft Estate, single mother Tracy has no friends or family, just her son Tom who is the love of her life. She's fallen on haA new resident of The Longcroft Estate, single mother Tracy has no friends or family, just her son Tom who is the love of her life. She's fallen on hard times and has got into something she's having trouble getting out of.
The Longcroft Estate and its inhabitants are truly believable. Scary, worrying but sometimes uplifting, these stories are a great read.
This short story is easy to read and has a strong pace to it. The characters are well-written, as always.
Have you ever watched / read 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' by Belle de Jour? How about Tracy Quan's '...Call Girl' series of books? Did they make youHave you ever watched / read 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' by Belle de Jour? How about Tracy Quan's '...Call Girl' series of books? Did they make you laugh? Did their lives sound exciting and liberating? Did prostitution begin to sound like a viable, safe way to make extra money? Well, it's not.
Ruth Jacob's 'Interview with a London Call Girl' reveals the harsh truths behind a profession that, over the past few years, has been sensationalised, with the stigma attached to prostitution being lessened with the appearance of each glamorous tale.
Following an interview with a call girl in the late 199os, Ruth Jacobs has written a series of novels and published them on her blog, soul-destruction.com
'In Her Own Words' is the unedited transcript of the interview Ruth conducted with a call. It exposes the negative social, psychological and physical effects on the woman who sold her body for money. The answers given by the interview are unflinching, brutally honest and utterly heartbreaking. It doesn't make for comfortable reading but it is a necessary read.
Ruth Jacobs published this anonymous interview following the death of the subject in the hope of highlighting the true nature of this exploitative profession. All proceeds are going to Beyond the Streets - a charity that helps women escape prostitution....more
'Luke and Jon' is a heart-warming tale of Jon who, after the death of his mother, moves to a scruffy northern town with his almost entirely mute fathe'Luke and Jon' is a heart-warming tale of Jon who, after the death of his mother, moves to a scruffy northern town with his almost entirely mute father who is drinking heavily. Jon meets Luke, a boy in 1950s clothes with a side parting and a twitch. The kids at school refer to Luke as "slackjaw". Luke has a secret, though, and when Jon finds it out it changes everything for Jon and his dad.
'Luke and Jon' is a coming of age story about family, death, depression, friendship and redemption. Robert Williams' debut novel is really impressively written and has a lot of heart. It's not all doom and gloom, though, it's heart warming and, at times, funny.
Shortlisted, rightfully, for several awards, 'Luke and Jon' won the Betty Trask Award - and rightfully so. ...more