Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Rosie Effect

The Rosie Effect is the sequel to The Rosie Project by Australian author, Graeme Simsion. Don Tillman and Rosie are now married and living in New York where Don is a visiting professor at Columbia medical school and Rosie is completing her PhD as well as medical studies. When Rosie becomes pregnant Don's organised life is challenged and the book largely deals with how he and Rosie strive to adapt to the concept of impending parenthood. Don is not your 'average person' and not everyone he meets understands his way of thinking and reaction to situations. This can result in awkward situations not just for himself but also for Rosie and his friends. There are many humorous apects as well as sad moments throughout the book. At times I thought the situations in the plot were a little forced but generally I enjoyed meeting Don and Rosie again and their attempts to reorganise their lives to include a child.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The long way home

Inspector Gamache and his wife have retired to Three Pines where the inspector is recovering from wounds, both physical and emotional, received during his last case. The peace of Three Pines is having its effect until one of the inhabitants asks for his assistance. Clara's husband has disappeared and Armand, Jean-Paul and Myrna help Clara in the search for Peter. Louise Penny is interested in the development of her characters as well as the plot and in this novel we once again explore the challenges and decisions made as the members of this quartet navigate their way on their quest. The book also explores relationships, including jealousy, and the need to be able to accept the talent of others.

The sense of an ending

The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. The book is divided into two sections. In the first we meet Tony Webster and three of his friends completing their final year at school and attempting to establish their views on life. They vow to stay in touch and initially meet from time to time before drifting apart. Some years later Tony learns that one of his friends has committed suicide. Over the years Tony had a number of relationships, including a not always satisfactory relationship with Veronica. Eventually he married Margaret. They had a child and twelve years later they divorced, amicably. The second section of the book occurs when Tony is sixty and he receives a small, unexpected bequest when Veronica's mother dies. Puzzled, he tries to establish why he has been remembered and also strives to retrieve part of the bequest that Veronica is withholding.

The book is about relationships. It is also about memory and how we perceive and interpret the past.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dragon Man

Dragon Man by Australian author, Garry Disher, is the first book in the Inspector Challis series and is set on the Mornington Peninsula. A young woman is found murdered after she has been raped and before investigations can really get under way, a second woman disappears. A journalist at the local paper receives messages from the murderer which she passes on to the inspector. Running parallel with this murder investigation a number of fires have been set on the peninsula along with a series of burglaries and another, possibly unrelated, murder. Allegations have also been made about the behaviour of some members of the police. Inspector Challis strives to keep the team focused on solving this series of crimes as well as resolving some of the personal conflicts encountered by members of the team. The plot focuses on a number of the police investigating the crimes as well as several of the perpetrators. Readers therefore gain an insight into the characters of a number of the major players in the novel as they try to work out who committed the crimes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chestnut Street

Irish author, Maeve Binchy, died in 2012 but over the years she wrote a number of short stories about families living in a fictional location in Dublin, Chestnut Street. The stories have now been collected together in one volume. Three of the stories in this compilation have been published previously but the remainder are new. The book provides a feeling of community as the relationships of people living in Chestnut Street are explored. Some of the characters appear in more than one story which helps to re-enforce that the book is not just about isolated families but about a neighbourhood. Whether the stories are happy or sad they portray a group of people trying to make the best out of what life has dealt them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books

A number of posts in this blog have been about books written by Canadian writer, Louise Penny. Although they can be read in random order, the Armand Gamache series of books really need to be read in sequence:
  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace (also known as Dead Cold)
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder (also known as The Murder Stone)
  5. The Brutal Telling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. A Trick of the Light
  8. The Beautiful Mystery
  9. How the Light Gets In
  10. The Long Way Home
  11. The Nature of the Beast
For more information about these books see the official website of Louise Penny

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Children Act

Fiona Maye is a High Court Judge in the family court. She is approaching 60 and has been married to Jack for 30 years. Reasonably happily she thought until one night Jack asked for her permission for him to have an affair. This leads Fiona to reevaluate her relationship with Jack and also to involve herself more than ever in her work.

Working in the family court Fiona regularly deals with the problems of others - people going through a messy divorce, custody battles, children being removed from the country illegally for instance. Then she has a case in which she needs to decide whether Adam, a seventeen year old boy, has the right to refuse a blood transfusion that will save his life. Adam's parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and he has been brought up to believe that having a blood transfusion is a sin. The complexities of making the decision, as well as the ramifications of that decision, form a major part of this novel by Ian McEwan.

This is a relatively short book - only 213 pages. It is beautifully written as it delves into complex relationships, difficult decisions and their consequences. This is definitely a book to try and read without interruption.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How the light gets in

Another installment in the excellent series of Chief Inspector Gamache books by Canadian author, Louise Penny. How the light gets in ties together many of the threads from the earlier novels in this series but as the story progresses, for those starting with this title, the author provides an outline of what has happened previously. However, to get the most from this series of books, they should be read in order.

When Armand Gamache is contacted by Myrna Landers about a friend who is missing, he goes to Three Pines to hear the full story. This leads to the discovery of a murder and a story that began in the 1930s. Solving this mystery is only one of the threads in this book as internal problems in the Surete de Quebec have intensified resulting in members of Armand Gamache's team being dispersed throughout other departments in the Surete. Chief Inspector Gamache is particularly concerned about the welfare of Jean-Guy Beauvoir whose health and mental state continues to decline. With his few remaining supporters, plus the assistance of his friends at Three Pines, Armand Gamanche is determined to find out what is going on at the Surete and who is trying to destroy him, even though it may mean him losing his job and possibly his life.

Louise Penny not only writes about crime, she writes about people and the reader becomes immersed both in the story plus the lives of the characters and the often difficult decisions they have to make. A range of emotions are encountered when reading these books as the characters encounter the good and evil that makes up life. It is extremely easy to become totally involved in this world created by Louise Penny and not want to do anything else until reaching the end of the novel.