The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad, Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
I was intrigued that Graham Norton had written a novel and couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately for me the first half of the book I could not get into this novel. This is described as darkly comic and I could hear Graham's voice in my head, just like on the radio, narrating, and the two just didn't go together. I also did not at first find the characters loveable as described at all.
When I got to Part 2 of the book something just clicked - I began to enjoy the book more and certainly by the last third I was so intrigued to find out what had happened all those years ago and whose body had been found. Even the characters took on a different level and I warmed to the Garda PJ and his housekeeper Mrs Meany and also to Brid.
There is some very insightful writing here and at times it reminded me a little of a Maeve Binchy novel -where everyone knows everyone and has an opinion on them, but they all rally round for each other. The plot is a clever one and Graham has also used his knowledge of Ireland to give an authentic feel to the characters.
I did enjoy the book in the end - once I had a neutral voice in my head with no wicked nuances of Graham. I would be interested to read his next novel - I'm sure there will be one.
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for a copy of the book to review.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.
Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.
What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.
I read the synopsis for this novel when it won the Booker Prize and thought it sounded really interesting - so I requested a copy for review.
Unfortunately the book did not live up to my expectations. There were parts that were laugh out loud funny, but there was so much that either went over my head or was an American reference that I just didn't understand.
I did find this book very tiring to read and was unable to read it for long periods of time.This is one man's story told in the first person and the dialogue felt like it went at a hundred miles an hour with no pauses for a breath. It was ok for a while, but a whole book? I felt exhausted. Think of going to see a stand up and him talking for 4 hours - I just lost focus every so often.
I kept going with the book because there were bursts of dialogue that really grabbed me and I loved it - thought I was finally getting it, but then it would fade away from me again. I loved the writer who was rewriting books.
I appreciate that this is great writing, with some powerful thinking - it is probably a great book, I'm sure a reading group would spend ages discussing it, it's just not for me. I would compare the writing to that in Catcher in the Rye - another great book and another that was not really for me.
I'm giving this book 2 out of 5 stars.
My thanks to to Netgalley for supplying me with a copy of the book for review.
Hopeless romantic Eva loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.
Bestselling crime writer, and notorious cynic, Lucas Blade has hidden himself away in his penthouse with a deadline looming. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva and Lucas snowbound together will Lucas finally see the magic, and happily ever after that Christmas can bring?
I've read a few of Sarah Morgan's books but not in this trilogy. However, the book stands alone and so you can read it without having read the previous books. You can always rely on Sarah for a nice romance and a Christmassy read.
I love that this book has the love interest as Lucas Blade, he was a great character and the fact that he was a crime writer (one of my fav genres) just made it perfect teamed with New York and Christmas! Sarah paints a lovely picture of a snow covered Manhattan with the sparked relationship between Lucas and Eva.
The characters are so well written that I could really visualise them in my minds eye and even begin to second guess how they were about to react. Eva has some great comedic lines which I loved to read.
Every so often it is nice just to escape to another world and Sarah certainly allows you to do that. With trips to Tiffany's, walks down 5th avenue and snow in Central Park. A magical read - especially the Snowflake Ball at the Plaza Hotel.
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Negalley for an advance copy of the book to review.