This review needs a disclosure to begin with: I spent two years in college with Caitriona Lally, before she decided to change tack and study English instead. We’d lost touch over the years, so when ‘Eggshells’ first appeared, I spent a while wondering ‘Is that…?’ before confirming that yes, it was ‘my’ Catriona Lally.
There is something Joycean about ‘Eggshells’, in a stream of consciousness and love letter to Dublin sort of way. In fact, were I to live in Dublin, I could see myself on an ‘Eggshells Tour’, following in character Vivian’s footsteps (and bus routes), as she negotiates the city, trying to find somewhere she belongs. Vivian doesn’t know where she fits in, and neither, it seems, does anyone else- not her neighbours or her incongruously named sister, Vivian.
‘ I used to bring home damp and gleaming shells, I used to think that if I found the perfect shell I would find the shape of the world, but I was always disappointed’.
This is not so much a story as an observational character study. I imagine how you react to it may depend on your tolerance for Vivian’s eccentricity and obsessiveness (there are many lists of items throughout that Vivian diligently copies into her notebook). Vivian provides a different way of looking at world, both its notable and mundane aspects. Perhaps it is a form of observation that we as readers could bring to our own locales to view them afresh, be that in Dublin or elsewhere.
‘She finds it oddly consoling to think of Jenny always in motion, spinning along on her high-wheeler or striding up a hill or crouching over a pond, all her energies focused on the hunt.’
I’ve enjoyed Emma Donoghue’s previous novels ‘Room’ & ‘The Sealed Letter’. ‘Frog Music was a present from Mr. WB, which I got around to reading a year later, as seems to be my wont. Continue reading “Frog Music-Emma Donoghue”
I have a lovely omnibus edition of Jane Austen’s novels- a birthday present from my Mum a few years back, and I usually read one a year. I should say re-read, as I’m previously acquainted with all but ‘Lady Susan’. ‘Mansfield Park’ is apparently one of the less favoured novels, and I can understand why. Continue reading “Mansfield Park-Jane Austen”
‘The day was beautiful, even under strip-lights. Outside birds sang, a new morning dawned, people lived and grew and got better and looked forward to getting older. I bought a coffee and ate an over-sweet muffin and they tasted like the most delicious things I had ever had.’
‘After You’ follows the story of Liz Clark, first brought to us in ‘Me Before You’, a book I enjoyed, even I did not weep copiously like all the reader reviewers mentioned in the end pages. Continue reading “After You-Jo Jo Moyes”
This is a consistent refrain of Ada’s, the eponymous ‘Dressmaker of Dachau’. Though not over-used, it did wear a little thin on me by the book’s end.
Mary Chamberlain takes us on a journey following Ada from the glamour of London & Paris through her experiences in the Second World War & afterwards. Ada dreams of escaping her humble working class origins being a couture designer with her own ‘House of Vaughan’, a journey which starts as an apprentice seamstress, but ends somewhat differently. Continue reading “The Dressmaker of Dachau- Mary Chamberlain”
Please read this book. I do not use the adjectives ‘charming’ or ‘heartwarming’ lightly, but I really can’t think of any more apt to describe ‘Etta and Otto and Russell and James’. It made me smile, made my heart swell, and sometimes broke it a little too. It is a book of beautiful, simple, spare writing. Continue reading “Etta and Otto and Russell and James- Emma Hooper”
“The lake wind blew down from Canada and in through the slats of our room, and played about our faces and hands, and snuck into our layers of socks, and found out our vulnerable toes.”
This is a beautifully written lyrical book. Continue reading “On Canaan’s Side- Sebastian Barry”
‘Within a week of leaving Cobh, this is what I realised- there are millions of ways of living’.
Oh Maeve. All those times I spotted posters for shows in the Firkin Crane just too late, and now you’ve gone to the States (sigh). I think I’d get on very well with Maeve Higgins if I met her. And, in a way, I have. Such is the wonder of books (and having Mr. WB to buy them as presents!) Continue reading “We have a good time…Don’t we?- Maeve Higgins”
Let’s just say my pre-holiday reading was much better than my actual holiday reading.
I’ve read some of Irene Nemirovsky’s writing before, but it’s been a while. I really enjoyed ‘The Dogs & The Wolves’. Continue reading “Mini book reviews (for when you’re too lazy to write a full length one!)”
Paula Hawkins has said in interviews that she had the idea for her best-selling book ‘The Girl on the Train’ in her head for several years, but I still can’t help but see comparisons to ‘Gone Girl’, having read it. Continue reading “The Gone Girl on a Train?”