I’ve not the energy or enthusiasm for a long review, so here are some thoughts on some books I’ve read recently.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Well constructed, vivid imagery and fairly gripping. The Bone Clocks didn’t cling to me as Cloud Atlas did, but Mitchell has knitted a very interesting history here. The fantasy element was not my cup of tea, I prefer my fantastical elements to be more subtle, but this is not a criticism of the novel. Only negative I had was that it read more as a children’s novel than the adult novel I expected, I’m not entirely sure why.
Mãn by Kim Thúy
Mãn is literature in translation. It will sneak up on you, it seems as though it is a small and simple piece of literature, but it’s feeling reverberates for days after. It packs a powerful punch for such a tiny piece. From birth to adulthood, we travel with Mãn as she is pulled from fields as a baby, marries, moves to Canada, becomes a famous chef and learns the emotional depths she can reach.
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Eugenides has wowed me with The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, books that make you think. The Marriage Plot isn’t a bad book, it is especially good if you are a bit of a book snob. However, the pretentious element of the novel is difficult to escape. While Eugenides again attempts to tackle the impact of depression on the young I found the characters too self-aware – or perhaps to arrogant – to be of sympathy. Not liking characters is a sign of a good book and although I enjoyed it I don’t think it is as good as his previous novels. Beautiful writing, less than perfect story.