Sunday, September 6, 2020

ABIGAIL by Magda Szabó


Hungarian Literature



Abigail, the story of a headstrong teenager growing up during World War II, is the most beloved of Magda Szabó’s books in her native Hungary. Gina is the only child of a general, a widower who has long been happy to spoil his bright and willful daughter. Gina is devastated when the general tells her that he must go away on a mission and that he will be sending her to boarding school in the country. She is even more aghast at the grim religious institution to which she soon finds herself consigned. She fights with her fellow students, she rebels against her teachers, finds herself completely ostracized, and runs away. Caught and brought back, there is nothing for Gina to do except entrust her fate to the legendary Abigail, as the classical statue of a woman with an urn that stands on the school’s grounds has come to be called. If you’re in trouble, it’s said, leave a message with Abigail and help will be on the way. And for Gina, who is in much deeper trouble than she could possibly suspect, a life-changing adventure is only beginning.

Friday, August 28, 2020



My copy


 Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this moving, richly imagined novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a 13-year-old girl whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across the country, a madness that affects both living and dead, old and young.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of the world through the ritual of storytelling. Through her unforgettable characters and glittering magical realist style, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime.

Monday, August 24, 2020

THE DEATH OF VIVEK by Akwaeke Emezi



Penguin Riverhead

Now available

If you are looking for a "whodunit" novel, this book fits the format.

If you are looking to read an intelligent, cohesive novel with sexually fluid characters, this isn't the book.

Just a few words, I loved Freshwater, I waited with anticipation for The Death of Vivek Oji. Halfway through the novel a thought occured, perhaps the author was under pressure to write another novel. 

I continued reading still hoping to find the depth the author gave her characters in Freshwater.

Poor Vivek...dead before we open the first chapter, missing from the novel except the very few pages allowed to him. What we find are teenagers having sex, lots of graphic sex, and when not having sex, they discuss Vivek, before he died, after he died.

Vivek, could have been a great character, with much insight into his life, his choices...oh well.

I came to the end disappointed, the end was predictable, the hints were there throughout the novel.

Still I will read her next novel, I know the author has the talent to write a novel worthy of Freshwater.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

ANIMAL SPIRIT by Francesca Marciano

Available now

Loved, loved every short story in Animal Spirit. Francesca Marciano is a talented writer. This is such an elegantly written book. Joy and heartache are  handled with an unsentimental pen, and touch your senses with human understanding.  

Read it, even if short stories isn't your usual fare

Thursday, March 5, 2020

THE MERCIES by Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Little Brown and Company
Historical Fiction
Available Now


Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a stranger arrives on their shore. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband's authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom's iron rule threatening Vardø's very existence.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

I am only half way through his book...and the writing