THE BURGESS BOYS by Elizabeth Strout
This is another great tale from Elizabeth Strout. Family problems bring the force of the family together to help the Burgess boys’ sister whose only son, a socially sidelined child, commits the crime of throwing a pig’s head into the entrance of a mosque. The fearless and highly successful lawyer Jim, also the eldest child of the family takes control while the large hearted and generous natured Bob supports him and Susan, his sister in his own quiet and comforting manner. Susan struggles with her own life and the difficulty of dealing as a single parent with her son. The pressure of the case and of living closely after many years of separated adult lives leads to the airing of family grievances and issues. Cracks appear, history is revealed and the truth becomes unbelievable.
Well worth reading.
This is another great novel by Maggie O’Farrell. Perhaps it is even better than “The Hand that First Held Mine.” When the patriarch of the family vanishes one morning, Gretta calls in the family to help find him. Each member has their own life issues and problems and each one’s problems are slowly revealed. Their characters are complex and interesting. Put together again in their adult life the children are exposed to and have to deal with the same issues that they escaped from when they left home, as well as their current relationships. The writing is brilliant, engaging and clever. Not to be missed.
The main character of this historical Icelandic tale is a murderess. While she awaits her death penalty she is placed with a farming family who are more than reluctant to have her under their roof and surveillance, within reach of their two young daughters. As Agnes, the murderess slowly reveals her version of the events that led to her conviction, Kent gradually teases out the relationships and characters in this amazing true story. This intriguing story is a page turner.
RELEASE DATE: MAY 2013
THE HONEY GUIDE BY RICHARD CROMPTON
Listed as the First Mollel Mystery this thriller moves the reader through an exciting and unputdownable story. Set in Nairobi in 2007, Mollel, a single father and retired police officer now dragged back into a strange case of murder. This novel is as fascinating for the way it reveals the real life of Kenya as well as the complex murder trial. A really good read.
TIGERS IN RED WEATHER BY LIZA KLAUSSMANN
Set in the post war world of Martha’s Vinyard in the 1950’s this slow burning novel draws you into the gin and tonic world of the bored and wealthy. Klaussmann creates credible and fascinating characters as her story reveals by separate narrative the inner complexity of the five main characters. Tension erupts when someone is murdered and suspicions abound. This intriguing novel is compelling reading.
Back to the seventies, the Cold War, Communism and spies, in this novel the beautiful and academic Serena Frome is subtly led towards a career as a spy for MI5 by her lover. Her love of literature makes her very suitable for a mission named Sweet Tooth. To be a spy she must trust no-one and certainly must not fall in love. Can love survive with the truth or with deceit or not at all?
This is another finely crafted and engaging story from a superb story teller.
This biographical novel by Mario Vargas Llosa takes place at the beginning of the twentieth century as it follows the life of Roger Casement, a British consul, who is sent to report on the truth concerning atrocities being committed against the natives in Congo.
Llosa’s strong and fascinating account of the ongoing struggle that Roger, a moral man of conscience undertook to change to improve the situation for the natives is an engaging story. The different areas that he is sent to, reveal an endemic practice of cruelty by the white planters over the natives in order to harvest the latex. Roger’s continual attempts to reveal these inhumane practises as well as the problems with handling his own sexuality make a compelling and fascinating story.
The story commences with Roger in a London gaol facing the death sentence.
By Drusilla Modjeska
The Mountain is Drusilla’s first venture into fiction. She draws from her own experience of life in Papua New Guinea in 1968 when independence and a new university are the main issues of the time. Into this background a new couple arrive to study the art and culture of the mountain tribes. Rika and her husband are a young newly married couple who arrive in New Guinea to study art and the culture of the mountain tribes. Rika forms friendships with a diverse group of young people involved in the university and town. Drusilla weaves a complex and intriguing story of love and deceit and the birthing pains of a country striving for independence. This is a very worthwhile and enjoyable read.
The story is set in Romania at the advent and postwar period of World War 11. A nameless man appears at the hospital steps where Safta works as a nurse. She recognises him as the cook’s son, a deaf mute who grew up with her. He was the stable hand who expressed himself through drawing and she was a privileged daughter of the manor. Stalin’s brutal regime and the war had changed their existences completely. Safta’s soft heart provokes her to make an escape with Augustin and they undertake a dangerous journey.
This is beautifully written with a delicate touch that immerses the reader in that terrifying and terrible post war era.
Publication date: April 2012
An old man recalls his voyage as an eleven year old, accompanied only by a distant relative from India to England. Relegated to eat with those of lowest social status on the ship at the Cat's Table, he makes friends with two other boys. Together they explore every orifice of the ship discovering the secret side of some passengers: a thief , a prisoner and a lady who befriends them. In reflection he wonders at their interpretation of events as a child and now as an old man.
Written in Ondaatjie's gentl fluid style it is immediately engaging.