Recently, I mentioned to an author that writing can sometimes seem a trivial and frivolous occupation. She replied that she never thought of it that way. It made me wonder if insecurity about writing is more of a male problem than a female one.
Rather like male film actors who indulge in ‘manly’ excesses to compensate for their lack of self-esteem, there are male writers who embrace a lifestyle based on alcohol or drugs or sex or danger and any combination thereof in order, it seems, to bolster something within themselves that whispers in the night that making up stories is unworthy of real men. Continue reading Raking the Dust – Book Review
Carl Jung’s concept of the Shadow is one of many intertwined and mutually reinforcing themes in Mark Gordon’s complex and absorbing novel.
The Shadow comprises the negative, primitive and morally reprehensible emotions and impulses inaccessible to the conscious mind: among them, lust, greed, envy, rage and the pursuit of power. It is at its most dangerous when habitually repressed and rejected, eventually manifesting itself in mental disturbances such as neurosis, psychosis or irrational hostility.
Continue reading The Snail’s Castle – Book Review
Fred Pooley has returned to London after six years in Hong Kong. He has worked hard and saved a little money, but something is wrong. He can’t settle down, he avoids visiting his mother, and there’s an emptiness inside him.
Petra, a new girlfriend, tries hard to bring Fred out of himself, yet he is irresistibly drawn to his former partner, Sally, and her young daughter. He grows increasingly certain that children are what he needs to fill the void in his life. When he decides to act on that need, he is led imperceptibly into illegality, obsession and self-destruction. Continue reading Mister Spoonface – Book Review
I’ve always believed that a book’s power lies in its ability to make it’s readers feel. As someone who’s been both an avid book reader and an extremely emotional person all my life, feeling for the stories I’ve read has never been a problem for me. Its probably why I spent my first 10 years as a reader reading romance novels because they always guaranteed a happy ending; they were probably so far off the mark as far as realism is concerned, but they were relatively painless and angst-free.
This book is not painless and angst-free.
Continue reading Call Me By Your Name – Book Review
‘Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re seeing,’ Megan Kimsey remarks as she prepares to fly from Denver to Bogota at the beginning of Ginger Bensman’s ambitious novel. It’s an appropriate statement from a young woman prone not only to premonitions, but also to visions of a past life lived centuries ago in a different culture.
These episodes are naturally interpreted as symptoms of mental illness by Megan’s mother, a physically attractive woman who instinctively colonizes everything and everybody, and whose need to control extends to hiring a dubious psychiatrist to cure her daughter of her hallucinations.
Megan can depend on her father’s love and support, until his loss precipitates a personal crisis and the start of a quest to find the truth about herself. Continue reading To Swim Beneath the Earth – Book Review
After the Fire by Will Hill
Usborne Publishing Ltd., 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
“The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade”.
I picked up After the Fire without reading the blurb or having prior knowledge of its subject. Coming to the book raw and without preconceptions I was quickly immersed in an intense atmosphere of fear, suspicion and confusion. The disjointed memories of survivor Moonbeam are filled with gunshots and burning fire. It is not clear how her family of Brothers and Sisters – the Lord’s Legion community – reached this devastating and tragic crisis.
Continue reading After the Fire – Book Review
After reading Proud Patrick, I took it into my head to visit Michael O’Reilly’s profile on Goodreads, where I learned that he counts among his main influences, not only writers such as Forster, Hardy, Joyce, Melville, and Shakespeare, but also filmmakers such as Bergman, Cassavetes, Kubrick, Kurosawa, and Lean.
I found this list of luminaries to be intriguing, as I also think of my own writing in terms of film style – not a conscious and deliberate emulation of particular shots and scenes, but the grammar of film and the kinds of dramatic tension that great filmmakers know how to construct.
Continue reading Proud Patrick – Book Review
Title: American River: Tributaries
Author: Mallory M. O’Connor
Genre: Historical Fiction
American River: Tributaries follows the lives of three families of Irish, Mexican, and Japanese descent. Though their ancestors all settled on the American River in Northern California, the generations following spread out across the country, making the families’ interconnection all the more unlikely. But as the characters’ lives overlap and collide, they undergo tremendous growth and are opened to new levels of understanding of each other, of life, and of themselves.
Continue reading Editorial Review – American River: Tributaries
Breathe in. Breathe out. This mantra gets Tessa Benson through the day.
The man she loves walks all over her, and she just wants to get by without her heart shattering to pieces. If she could find her voice, she’d scream.
Everything changes in one night, when she’s snatched from the streets and tied to a bed, a camera setup to capture her dying moment. And the person who paid to watch her die…is still out there somewhere.
Continue reading Breathe In – Book Review
Novel titles are seldom as apt as Tom Ward’s Fires, which follows Guy, a firefighter in a town dominated by its vast steelworks, and Nathan and his friends, teenage arsonists whose lives are otherwise foreclosed by poverty, corruption and ‘the system’. Guy and Nathan’s paths eventually cross in expected and unexpected ways – most of them fiery – in an intermittently compelling narrative suffused with anger and loss.
Continue reading Fires – Book review