Monthly Archives: November 2016

A long but excellent essay. Introduced me to Langston Hughes’ formidable poem

http://samadlerbell.com/the-uses-of-patriotism/

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The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

Cover of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

A brilliant read. The two main characters, brothers and hired assassins, are grudgingly revealed through the narrator’s voice, and deWitt is ruthlessly Spartan in his prose. With the feel of a literary road movie, we are moved through a series of alien worlds at the pace of a dawdling nag. We never wholly come to know these rough environments, and they remain strange, as the protagonists are estranged from polite society. Yet through their mystery, somehow they beautifully and increasingly reveal the characters’ tenderness and humanity. This book promised much, and for me it truly delivered, never relying on the stereotypical tropes you might expect of the Western genre it moves within.

Available from: Amazon


Barracuda – Christos Tsiolkas

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Uncompromising obsession and its consequences

I first picked this book up in my local bookshop and read the opening paragraphs without purchasing it. They left me with a rankling desire to know how the book develops. Once I finally bought it, I devoured it in hours rather than days. It is truly one of the un-put-down-ables.

Like Christos Tsiolkas’s first book, Loaded, Barracuda is a compulsive, emotional read, told with enormous sensitivity and passion. It occupies the same shelf in my mental library as Jamie O’Neill’s At Swim, Two Boys, Agustin Gomez-Arcos’ The Carnivorous Lamb and Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask. Like these works, it is not so much a “gay” novel as an exploration of humanity – in this case, the probing of one young man’s uncompromising obsession and the consequences of this on his own life and the lives of those around him. It explores the dynamics of competition with unflinching honesty, and carefully documents the protagonist’s journey through hell and his ensuing catharsis in its most primal expression.

Definitely the best book I read in the year.

Available from Amazon


One Night at the Jacaranda – Carol Cooper

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

One Night at the Jacaranda by Carol Cooper

One Night at the Jacaranda by Carol Cooper

In search of love, a delightful miscellany of contrasting London types sign up for a night of speed-dating at the Jacaranda pub. Following the trials and tribulations of an undercover journo desperate for a feature, a GP with custody issues, a single mother, a terminally ill cat-lover, an obsessive misogynist and an ex-con, among others, Carol Cooper has written a light, witty and enjoyable book about the perennial quest for one’s better half.

Available from Amazon.


Thoreau in Love – John Schuyler Bishop

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

JTBishop_TiL

Thoreau in Love by John Schuyler Bishop

Pages torn from Thoreau’s personal journal inspired this fictional account, postulating on the idea that the missing pages, covering his youthful sojourn in New York, would reveal a gay dalliance, were they extant today. Suffice to say I adored this book. It is wholeheartedly a romance in the rough, passionate, slightly bawdy and infinitely tender way of two young men in love. Above all it is an intelligent book, one which appears well researched and which seems to pay deep respect to Thoreau’s character.

Available from Amazon


House of Silence – Linda Gillard

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

LGillard_HoSA young woman for whom family signifies betrayal and abandonment, and who has learnt to maintain her emotional isolation, falls for a seductive young actor whose sprawling web of relatives she welcomes as icing on her romantic cake. Yet invited for Christmas at their chilly old mansion presided over by a flighty matriarch, cracks in the family’s happy façade cause her to question the enigmatic past of this apparently idyllic family. Steering skilfully between the genres of romance and mystery, Linda Gillard has written a captivating read that will keep you guessing till the end.

Available from Amazon.


Gift of the Raven – Catriona Troth

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Rather than a full book review, in these posts, I simply jot down a few lines on books I’ve enjoyed.

Gift of the Raven

Gift of the Raven by Catriona Troth

“The people of the Haida Gwaii tell the legend of the raven – the trickster who brings the gift of light into the world.”

An emotionally raw tale of an outcast, abused and orphaned boy, whose “hair is black like night, and [whose] skin is the colour of Auntie Jean’s strong tea” and his quest to find his father. “I’ve never seen anyone who looks like me but that’s okay because I belong here anyway”. This story about the budding relationship between a father and son touched a deep emotional chord for its sincerity and the delicacy of its prose. One of those books where the tears are never far from welling up, but a tremendously uplifting read.

Available from Amazon


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