Monday, November 5, 2018

THE FROLIC OF THE BEASTS by Yukio Mishima































Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publishing date November 27, 2018

About

Translated into English for the first time, a gripping short novel about an affair gone wrong, from the author of the Sea of Fertility tetralogy.

Set in rural Japan shortly after World War II, The Frolic of the Beasts tells the story of a strange and utterly absorbing love triangle between a former university student, Koji; his would-be mentor, the eminent literary critic Ippei Kusakudo; and Ippei's beautiful, enigmatic wife, Yuko. When brought face-to-face with one of Ippei's many marital indiscretions, Koji finds his growing desire for Yuko compels him to action in a way that changes all three of their lives profoundly. Originally published in 1961 and now available in English for the first time, The Frolic of the Beasts is a haunting examination of the various guises we assume throughout our lives, and a tale of psychological self-entrapment, seduction, and crime.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

THE PUMILIO CHILD by Judy McInerney






























Unbound
Available

About
The Pumilio Child is a dark, unsettling thriller that challenges the perception that Italy during the Renaissance was cultured and refined.  The day-to-day reality was surprisingly barbaric.
The characters in Andrea Mantegna’s dazzling family fresco in the Gonzaga Palace in Mantua come to life to reveal the story of the survival of a young slavewoman. Ya Ling’s cultured life of privilege in Beijing is cruelly cut short when she is abducted and shipped to the slave market in Venice. When celebrated Renaissance artist Mantegna sees her chained to a post, although his finances are perilous, he digs deep and buys her. His initial intention is to paint her exotic beauty, but he soon moves her into the harness room for pleasures of a more private nature.
Ya Ling has two ambitions, to ruin Mantegna, then to escape her brutal and sordid life in Mantua and return back to her family in China. However, Mantegna’s latest commission, two huge frescos for the ruling Gonzaga family, make him invincible.
This gripping story is interwoven with a subplot introducing a bizarre and vicious practice that took place during Renaissance times. It was so corrupt and disturbing it has been wiped from history.

A little about the author;
Judy McInerney has lived and worked in London for most of her professional life. Living in the Middle East, she managed to get lost in the desert, and to live through a military coup. After teaching in Abu Dhabi and starting her own business in Turkey, she returned to London and completed a creative writing course at Goldsmiths. Writing for food and travel guides has enabled her to justify travelling and eating out far too often.
As a frequent traveller to China over the last thirty years she has seen the country undergo massive seismic changes, - from the times of Mao jackets and vast shoals of bicycles meandering along every hutong, to the present day, where Beijing is bigger than Belgium and has six million cars. She still travels in China each year to keep in close touch with family there. She also has a longstanding love affair with Italy, particularly the Renaissance cities of the north. Mantua is an undiscovered gem, both magical and macabre.

My View
I wish I could have liked this novel. 
The author used a well known Italian Renaissance artist Mantegna and vilified  him in so many ways, his actions towards his family, the cruelty towards Ya Ling are grusome.
As I read this fictional history a thought came to mind throughout,should a literary work demonize a person, in this case an artist whose works sit in museums around the world.



Friday, October 19, 2018

THE FARM by Joanne Ramos






























5.5

Random House
Publishing date May 19, 2019


About

Thursday, October 18, 2018

IF, THEN by Kate Hope Day






























4.5
Random House Publishing House
Publishing date March 12, 2019

About
In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful coworker in Ginny’s own bed, and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.


My view

We have all heard of Parallel Universes, imagined how our alternate selves might live. 
Author Kate Hope Day takes us to a neighborhood close to Broken Mountain, an inactive volcano, were inhabitants of a small neighborhood will meet their alternate selves as they proceed with their individual lives.
The premise of multiverse is an interesting one, my only small regret, I wish the author delved deeper into this aspect of the novel, expending the protagonists meetings with 
their other worldly selves, engage them somehow deeper into the story line. Otherwise I really enjoyed this novel, the characters are well developed, the story line is cohesive. It is an interesting, enjoyable read.

I recommend it to anyone who loves an interesting, well written novel.

Thank you to Random House Publishing
for this enjoyable arc

Thank you NetGalley for the arc

Thursday, October 11, 2018

GOLDEN CHILD by Claire Adam
























5.5
Crown Publishing
Publishing date January 29, 2019

About

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn't come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, GOLDEN CHILD is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.


My view

I just now finished GOLDEN Child by Claire Adam. Noticing 1 star ratings, I hesitated and put the book aside to read closer towards the publishing date.
Having a friend born in Trinidad changed my mind glad it did. 

The story of Paul and Peter, twins begins at their birth, Peter arrives in this world a healthy boy followed by Paul who's birth is overshadowed by a more difficult birth which will follow him throughout his life. 
Both boys are loved, by their mother and father, including a large extended family comprised of Aunts, Uncles differing in social status which will play a deciding role in Paul's and Peter's lives.
Although the story takes us deep into the underbelly of Trinidad, it is a tale easily imagined in places were crime infringes upon the innocent, a feeling I had throughout the novel.
Claire Adam's pen brings Paul and Peter right off the page into ones heart, crying while reading a novel doesn't happen often, I cared for these boys deeply.
Reality drives this story, its strength lies in the truth the author brings to the page, perhaps not quite comfortable for everyone...whence the 1 star ratings. For me this novel rates a solid 5 stars.


A must read

Thank you to Crown Publishing for giving me a chance to read this beautiful novel before being published.

Thank you to NetGalley for the arc