Monday, April 18, 2011

new member intro

Hello I am really new to this so please bear with me!! I am a bookworm and have been all my life. My idea of a good afternoon shopping is going in a bookshop and not leaving till closing! I read anything if I think it looks good - not too much sci-fi but if someone reccomends I'll give it a go. I have followed the Orange prize for some time and although I know it is controversial in some arenas to have a prize only for women, it has been the means of discovering fantastic new writers and increasing their profiles. I am English and a home educating mother of 4 children, plus I have a big softie of a dog and a Garfield look-alike cat. I enjoy hearing other people's views on books I read but am a little apprehensive about techie stuff. Tess The books I have read are: 1999 SL The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver 2000 SL Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Rebecca Wells 2001 SL The Blind Assassin Margaret Attwood 2002 W Bel Canto Ann Patchett SL Fingersmith Sarah Waters 2003 SL Unless Carol Shields SL The Little Friend Donna Tartt 2004 W Small Island Andrea Levy SL Purple Hibiscus Chimimanda Ngozi Adichio SL The Colour Rose Tremain 2005 W We Need To Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver 2006 W On Beauty Zadie Smith SL The Night Watch Sarah Waters 2007 W Half a Yellow Sun Chimimanda Ngozi Adichio SL The Observations Jane Harris 2008 W The Road Home Rose Tremain SL The Outcast Sadie Jones 2011 SL Room Emma Donaghue

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Seas by Samantha Hunt

The Seas
By Samantha Hunt
Completed April 12, 2011

In Samantha Hunt's debut novel, The Seas, we meet a lovely, yet delusional, 19-year-old girl who believes she is a mermaid. Her father told her so, shortly before he walked into the sea and never returned. Clinging to this belief, our narrator takes us on a lyrical ride that shows how tough our world is on mermaids.

A major theme in The Seas is unrequited love. For example, our narrator is in love with Jude, a Gulf War veteran who was 13 years older than her. Jude would hang out with her, protect her at times, but never date her. Jude was emotionally scarred, and he drank heavily and screwed around to hide his issues. The narrator's mom also was caught up in unrequited love. She finally met the man of her dreams, married and bore his child, before he took a walk into the water, Virginia Woolfe-style. The tiny glimpses of their marriage showed us their uneven romance, which lived on long after the dad's disappearance.

The Seas is not your ordinary little book. It's humorous, enchanting, troubling and depressing. While the narrator's delusions of being a mermaid were quaint, at the same time, you wish someone would help her. While you knew Jude was bad news, you hoped he would pay attention to the narrator. This tumbling combination of feelings makes The Seas as quirky and wonderful as its characters.

The best way to make a recommendation would be this: if you liked Little Miss Sunshine, then you will probably like The Seas. Just like the movie, this book won't be for everyone. ( )

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Short List Announced

The Orange Prize for Fiction short list was announced this morning *drum roll please*....

Room, by Emma Donoghue
The Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna
Grace Williams Says It Loud, by Emma Henderson
Great House, by Nicole Krauss
The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht
Annabel, by Kathleen Winter

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

It takes a talented writer to infuse stories of folklore and reality into a book that’s both captivating and realistic. It’s not an easy recipe for storytelling, but sometimes the best stories are the hardest ones to tell. I think that’s the case in Tea Obreht’s debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife.

Set in unnamed Balkan nations, The Tiger’s Wife tells the story of Natalia, a young physician who is traveling to an orphanage to inoculate wartime orphans. En route, she learns of her grandfather’s death. Natalia knew her grandfather was ill with cancer, so his death came as no surprise, but she was stunned to learn where her grandfather died – in a little village near the orphanage where she was headed. Why was he there instead of at home with Natalia’s grandmother and mother?

As Natalia contemplates her grandfather’s death, she reminisces about his life – specifically stories from his childhood and youth. There’s the Tiger’s Wife – a young deaf-mute woman from his village – and the Deathless Man – who captures souls before people die. Even further, you learn about the village butcher, apothecary and local bear killer. Here’s where Obreht shines: the retelling of folkloric stories, the conjuring of superstition and the devastations of war. In these tales, which are woven through Natalia’s narrative, the reader must employ patience and suspend some level of disbelief. In doing so, you will be rewarded with stories that will enrich and delight you.

The rhythm of The Tiger’s Wife takes some getting used to. Stylistically, it’s a complicated novel with interweaving story lines and time frames. Even writers with more experience could lose themselves in this storytelling. The fact that Obreht didn’t is a testament to her writing talent. I would recommend The Tiger’s Wife to readers who enjoy folklore with contemporary fiction. I look forward to future stories by this talented young writer. ( )