Us by David Nicholls

Us‘Us’ by David Nicholls tells the story of Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged biochemist whose wife, Connie, suddenly announces that she thinks their marriage of twenty years has “run its course” and that she wants to leave him. Despite their problems, the couple set off on their long-planned family holiday touring western Europe with their teenage son, Albie, before he leaves home to study at university. However, Douglas hopes the trip will help him win Connie back and convince her to save their marriage. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize Shortlist Readings 2014

Booker shortlist 2014

Last year, I went to the Man Booker Prize shortlist readings event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. This year, I was lucky enough to win tickets to the same event which was held at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday and hosted by Kirsty Wark.

This year’s shortlisted novels are:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

How to be Both by Ali Smith

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The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Children Act‘The Children Act’ by Ian McEwan tells the story of Fiona Maye, a High Court judge in the Family Division who presides over cases involving the welfare of children. One particular case involves Adam Henry, a seventeen year old Jehovah’s Witness whose devoutly religious parents reject a lifesaving blood transfusion to treat his leukaemia. Meanwhile, Fiona is also facing a crisis in her personal life as her husband, Jack, announces that he is leaving her for another woman. Continue reading

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Film Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl film

Following the success of Gillian Flynn’s third novel published in 2012, the film adaptation of ‘Gone Girl‘ was released in cinemas this week. Directed by David Fincher with a screenplay written by Flynn, the film has garnered positive reviews in the press and is already being tipped to win Oscars next year. There’s no doubt the film will be talked about as much as the bestselling novel, but is it worth the hype? Continue reading

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Irène and Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

Irene Alex

‘Irène’ and ‘Alex’ are the first two books in Pierre Lemaitre’s series of crime novels set in Paris and featuring Commandant Camille Verhoeven. ‘Irène’ was the first novel in the series originally published in France in 2006 but was the second to be translated into English following the success of  its sequel ‘Alex’ which won the CWA International Dagger for best translated crime novel of the year in 2013.  Continue reading

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The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New ThingsI was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy of Michel Faber’s new novel ‘The Book of Strange New Things’ which is due to be published in the UK this month. It tells the story of Peter Leigh, a Christian minister who is chosen by a mysterious corporation called USIC to embark on an out-of-this-world mission to a planet called Oasis in a far-away galaxy. Expecting a hostile reception from the native population, Peter is surprised to find the Oasans are keen to learn from the Bible which they refer to as The Book of Strange New Things and discovers that he isn’t the first pastor to visit them. However, Peter’s pregnant wife, Bea, is struggling to survive as various apocalyptic events unfold back on Earth which is putting a strain on their extremely long-distance relationship. Continue reading

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The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying GuestsI feel very spoilt having two of my favourite authors publish new books this summer. First, ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage‘ by Haruki Murakami and now ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters. Set in London shortly after the First World War, unmarried Frances Wray and her widowed mother have fallen on hard times and are forced to rent out rooms at their home in Camberwell. Frances becomes increasingly close to their young and modern “paying guests”, Leonard and Lilian Barbour. However, her relationship with Lilian soon triggers an unexpected and violent chain of events. Continue reading

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