A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a womaTime taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 288
Publisher - Knopf
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
A dark, thrilling new novel from the best-selling author of Longbourn: a work of riveting psychological suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world--or in the pages of a book--when the stakes are dangerously high.
When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it's meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, during class a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book--and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it's too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors.
I don't really know where to start with this one and I went back and forth on my rating multiple times. We open with the main character, woman - no name, who is sexually assaulted when pregnant. This has a huge impact on her as you could imagine, three years later she has given birth and is still suffering from the trauma. The opportunity of a teaching job, a good distance away, come up and she takes it. Her partner stays at home whilst she goes to pastures new with their son and they see each other as able. Before long trouble strikes and she finds herself in a horrible predicament with a student that risks her job and impacts even more on her mental health.
I was expecting something very different from this book which is maybe why I didn't enjoy it as much as other readers did. I didn't hate it I just didn't love it. I found myself getting very frustrated with some of her behaviours and choices, her interactions with her partner. I suppose the book maybe was going for the whole picture of impact and long lasting effects of an assault. I just found myself getting frustrated a lot and wondering where the book was going and what X had to do with Y.
Different and as I said a lot of readers have loved it, I think for me I just maybe missed what it was going for and was expecting a very different story as the blurb said dark/thrilling. It certainly has dark themes and mental health is infused throughout but I think I got confused by the blurb and thought I was going into a very different read which probably impacted my enjoyment. 3/5 for me this time, I would read this author again as she writes very well and paints vivid scenes in places but maybe I won't read the blurb before hand....more
On 19 February 2013 the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologised to the women incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene laundries. Listening to his words were Nancy, Time taken to read - 3 days
Pages - 289
Publisher - Orion
Source - Bought
Blurb from Goodreads
On 19 February 2013 the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologised to the women incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene laundries. Listening to his words were Nancy, Kathleen, Diane, Marie and Marina, all "Magdalene women" confined in the state-funded laundries run by the church during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The harrowing physical and psychological abuse they endured there led to a lifetime of hurt, loneliness, shame and secrecy - but finally the world knew what they had suffered.
In Whispering Hope, these women tell their stories for the first time. United in their fight for justice by Steven O'Riordan, founder of the group Magdalene Survivors Together, their individual voices interweave in an immensely powerful narrative that shines a light on a dark chapter in Ireland's history.
Steven O'Riordan is an extraordinary young man. After watching a movie about the Magdalene ladies he was inspired to look into it after discovering it was real life stories. Finding out how recent it was since the laundries closed he took it upon himself to see what other stories hadn't been told, what happened to these women. Which brings him into the lives of Nancy, Kathleen, Diane, Marie and Marina, all survivors, all Magdalene women.
In this book we hear how Steve got started and in their own words, Nancy, Kathleen, Diane, Marie and Marina tell us about their lives before the laundries, how they got there, what they endured, survived and how they found each other.
These stories are utterly horrific, how such atrocities could be committed against children and women who had dared have the crime of either falling pregnant when not wed or "tempting" males in their family. The treatment by nuns, holy women who were supposed to care for them and instead brutalised, shamed, starved, hurt and abused them. It makes you so mad that not only did these things happen to thousands of vulnerable women and children, it happened over many years and then they had to fight to be heard, believed and finally get an apology.
Not an easy read by any means but a very important one, these women deserved to be heard. Their stories are sad, shocking, horrific and knowing the last one was still around in the 1990's beggars belief. 4/5 for me this time, this is the first book I have read like this, sure I seen stories or at least heard of them when I was younger. I hope they find some peace, Lord knows they deserve it....more