This novel won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction this year (2016,) the only title from the list I hadn't been able to get my hands on (it figures!This novel won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction this year (2016,) the only title from the list I hadn't been able to get my hands on (it figures!) This is the story of a very modern Ireland, with drug dealers and prostitutes. But in the context of post-Catholic, or maybe just over-Catholic Ireland, there is interesting commentary throughout on the effect of grouping some people into a "sinner" group, where they have to give up their children or go to jail or leave their community. And how those kinds of instances can veer someone off of a path and into a life where they are surviving in any way they can. It was gritty but most of the characters seemed pretty nuanced, and memorable. The story jumps around in time a bit, which was a little bit of a struggle to follow in the audio, but it does give them a chance to show where their early decisions put them in the end.
Shelley Atkinson does a good job in the reading, although since half the characters are male, I was left wishing for a bit more depth in their voices. Not really possible with a female reader! The Irish accent was present but not in the way.
So would I have given this the Baileys Women's Prize? I definitely think it belongs in the top three for me, alongside A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Interestingly all three deal with trauma, and two are very heaped in realism. If this is the trend for "women's" fiction, bring it on.
I received an early copy of this from Random House Audio in exchange for an honest review....more
(I'm still catching up on my reviews from the books I read during the 24 in 48 marathon!)
This is the third Paul Christopher book, a spy series from th(I'm still catching up on my reviews from the books I read during the 24 in 48 marathon!)
This is the third Paul Christopher book, a spy series from the 1970s I learned about from a Goodreads friend. I've been enjoying them; each one is told differently and has different characters, but always Paul Christopher.
This one follows his relationship story more, but the espionage writing gets really lazy. In the last fifty pages, most of what we know about the people involved comes from Christopher's girlfriend's godfather, as related during one dinner conversation. It's like the author didn't want to have to work out how to reveal the details throughout the story, so press pause - info dump!
I did enjoy the double meanings of "secret lovers" and to see his girlfriend go on her own journey to reconcile what loving a secret agent means. I'll probably seek out the other books in this series but I'm not in as much hurry as I was before....more
Alluring cockroaches, mysterious ailments, New Orleans... this had a lot of filth to love. One of the characters really got into my head and I've beenAlluring cockroaches, mysterious ailments, New Orleans... this had a lot of filth to love. One of the characters really got into my head and I've been thinking of his music ever since. This is going to be discussed on an upcoming episode of the Reading Envy podcast....more
This is a quick read, and would probably make a fun movie. As far as the quantum mechanics go, I have questions. This is the second book I've read inThis is a quick read, and would probably make a fun movie. As far as the quantum mechanics go, I have questions. This is the second book I've read in the past week to use the concept of the superposition, so I know that is something outside the novel. Is the concept of entanglement real? It felt pretty far-fetched to me, as did the idea that it could wear off. It's not like atoms exist external to the system they are a part of.
The issue where everyone forgets Nat after sixty seconds is another. Why sixty seconds? Is this arbitrary? Why not after they have slept? (Because that would make the excitement different?) As Yelena pointed out, Nat isn't actually a good agent, he's just always assuming his ability will get him out of situations he gets into. I wonder if this concept of being observed collapsing the possibilities extends to surveillance. Originally I thought maybe that is why Yelena could remember him, because she lives in a surveillance state! But if observation keeps you from being forgotten, couldn't they have just set up some kind of monitoring system rather than a paper-based authentication system in a handler's desk drawer? I'm probably thinking too much about it.
Unforgettable was discussed on Episode 052 of the Reading Envy Podcast and I received a copy signed by the author after that. I read it during the 24in48 readathon of July 2016. ...more
When I finished the first Cass Neary novel, Available Dark, I immediately requested the next one from the library. I love how this one continues the pWhen I finished the first Cass Neary novel, Available Dark, I immediately requested the next one from the library. I love how this one continues the photography element and perhaps that is always the impetus for Cass to travel to a new place. This time around a photography collector wants her to travel to Finland to see if the prints from a photographer are worth purchasing. She discovers that she has unwittingly become a part of a community of photographers who take pictures of the dead or dying, and the trip to cold bleak Finland is no exception. Danger follows. Also traditional Viking religion, Satanic death metal, evil twins, and hypothermia. And lots and lots of drugs. (And I couldn't put it down.)...more
I listened to this in only a few days thanks to a long drive I had to make. But I was disappointed in it in the end. Quantum mechanics is endlessly faI listened to this in only a few days thanks to a long drive I had to make. But I was disappointed in it in the end. Quantum mechanics is endlessly fascinating (also endlessly unfascinating, that's a quantum theory joke for you, har har.) But I did not find anything in this novel that I hadn't heard before. I wonder if this is yet another instance of an author not ever reading science fiction and thinking they are doing something new. If you don't read science fiction and are just looking for a thriller, you might enjoy it more. If you like it, there's a lot more where this comes from. It's only something science fiction writers have been using as a central theme for 70 years+.
And now a few comments on specific events.(view spoiler)[ I definitely saw the major "twists" coming, both that it was a version of himself that kidnapped him (from the moment he knew his password) to the endless versions. I actually thought the ending was weak. I would have made it so a different version of the guy runs off to the multiverse with his wife, and the big reveal could have been that the narrator was faulty all along, either unaware or in denial or a psychopath, because he wasn't the original.... but of course it all depends, is there really an original when we're talking about the superposition? (hide spoiler)]
So that's why I was disappointed, the lack of new ground and the decisions the author made within it.
I received a review copy of the audio from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Looking around at the excited readers and five-star reviews, I can say that this must just not be my thing. I received a review copy of it as part ofLooking around at the excited readers and five-star reviews, I can say that this must just not be my thing. I received a review copy of it as part of a BEA packet so I thought I'd give it a try to see what it was like. I was 30% in and everyone was still dancing around what happened at that dang barbecue so I decided to move on to something else. Plus the issue of fertility was coming up, something that just doesn't thrill me. I hope everyone else enjoys....more