ofbooks has been a proverbial ghost this year. I have been reading and writing, although not nearly as much as I used to. Without the affliction of ‘I should’, my reading has become more select and enjoyable. I’m reading for pleasure rather than obligation and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve also been lucky enough to continue writing reviews for Shiny New Books, some reviews of which I wanted to share here.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
“There is never an inclination that the narrator is without fault of selfishness; her situation and mental health deterioration are marred by the knowledge that this is someone of immense privilege, able to take a year away from her life without consequence, but also highlighting how selfish and uncontrollable depression can be. No one chooses to be sad, and the sad without meaning to can be selfish.”
“The writing, while not challenging, shows the author’s understanding of what makes a person tick. It’s clear that Hanks’ film experience has made him the master of telling a good story. Each came alive in the telling and I could hear Hanks narrating as I read. They read as though they could be performed, leaving enough room for the imagination to do the legwork.”
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
“At first glance, you may mistake The Trick To Time for your standard supermarket paperback. On closer inspection, de Waal uses a conventional romance to discuss themes such as mental health, prenatal/neonatal care, grief, and the IRA and Hibernophobia. The depth of the story may not be visible at first, but with each new insight into Mona’s life, the more nuanced the novel becomes. These are intricate themes, ingrained into the story for the reader to absorb consciously and unconsciously.”
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
“Time is a constant discussion and experience in the novel. As a reader, you experience time in disorganised chucks. The characters agonise over time. What time means, how quickly it passes and how chaotic it can be. As he slips further into psychosis, Edgar’s father Frank becomes obsessed with time, time is now and so if he is all at once in the past, present and future it doesn’t matter if he and Lucy die – they will always be with Edgar. For Lucy time is something that has slipped by unattended as she has raised a child without Frank, while still trying to cling on to any enjoyment she can squeeze out of her existence. For Florence, time is something that still hurts seven years after her son’s death.”