The heart goes last

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every […]

A Wrinkle in the skin

AKA The Ragged Edge. Read for the 2014 Sci-Fi Experience In the 1960s a wave of earthquakes brings destruction around the globe. Isolated off the British coast Matthew Cotter thinks that they will be okay, Britain is far from any earthquake zone, pity the poor devils on a fault, but that’s all happening far away. […]

The Metamorphosis

translated by David Wyllie : Read online at Project Gutenberg Most people are probably somewhat familiar with Franz Kafka. When we hear that something is Kafkaesque we think of the surreal and the absurd, but with a darkness. The Metamorphosis is possibly his most well known story. The tale of a travelling salesman who wakes […]

The dollmaker

I originally read this book in October of 2010, my original review is below but I have a few additional thoughts after my reread.

It is still a hugely powerful and effective read, I reread it because I suggested it for a new book club I’ve joined and thought I should refresh my memory. I’m not sure it was a great choice for the club, it is quite hard to find here in in Ireland and the second hand copies people have been buying has quite small print. Plus it is a big long book. But it is a great book club read because of its contents, imo anyway, we will see when we meet up at the end of the month.

I adore the character of Gertie Nevels. She is just a wonderful person, and yet at the same time she isn’t idealised or held up as some shining example. She is a person who makes the best out of what she got, and what she got is not a lot.

Spoilery discussion to follow.

Show Spoiler ▼

It is a great book and everyone should read it.


original review :

ISBN: 0380009471

The world is at war, and the army is stealing away the men, and those that are left are being hauled off to work in the factories in order to assist the war effort. In rural Kentucky Gertie is lucky enough to still have her husband around, he drives the coal truck, but knows that this situation cannot last. He has his date with the army already lined up. But she is preparing as best she can. She has been saving her money and almost has enough to offer on a nearby farm. Without having to pay half what they earn on rent Gertie and her family will be able to plan for the future. But on the eve of her plans coming to fruition all is ruined and she must uproot her family and follow her husband to the city of Detroit.

Read more about The dollmaker

The death of grass

Read for the Not just for Stormtroopers sci-fi challenge It is the 1950s, and a devastating virus is sweeping Asia. It attacks grass, and grass feeds the world. Wheat is grass. And cows, sheep, etc all live on grass. At first people in Britain watch in horror as it strikes at the wheat supplies in […]

Glister by John Burnside

Glister

Teenage boys are going missing in Innertown. Where they go and what happens to them, nobody knows. Some say that they have runaway, escaping the town with its pollution, disease, death and lack of a future. Others say that no one ever leaves Inntertown, and why didn’t they talk of their plans to anyone else. […]

A Fine Balance

Dina Dalal seldom indulged in looking back at her life with regret or bitterness, or questioning why things had turned out the way the way they had, cheating her of the bright future everyone had predicted for her when she was in school, when her name was still Dina Shroff.

I’m not really sure where to begin with this review. This is a big book, both in the amount of pages and in the amount of ground it covers. Set in an un-named city in India during the State of Emergency after India’s founding it deals with four main characters whose lives intersect in the house of Dina Dalal who hires two tailors and rents out a room to a young student in an attempt to keep her independence.

The Secret Life of E. Robert Pendleton

See also: MichaelCollinsauthor.com ; Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind ; Lizzy’s Literary Life The E. Robert Pendleton of the title is a professor struggling to keep his tenure at Bannockburn College where he lectures in English. He is also an author; although recently he has been suffering from writer’s block. He hasn’t had any successful […]

The Wars

ISBN: 0140050116
See also: The Stay at Home Bookworm ; Wikipedia

Prologue
She was standing in the middle of the railroad tracks. Her head was bowed and her right front hoof was raised as if she rested.

The Wars tells the story of Robert Ross, an officer in the Canadian army during WWI, a young man full of guilt over the death of his sister. This sister, Rowena, suffered from hydrocephalus, and Robert had promised to never leave her. But, when she is being watched by their younger brother Stuart, she falls, hits her head and dies. In the aftermath, Robert enlists.

Read more about The Wars

Unicorns and cannonballs, Palaces and piers, Trumpets, towers, and tenements, Wide oceans full of tears, Flags, rags, ferry boats, Scimitars and scarves

TV has been a tad on the depressing side recently. And I don’t mean the boring-ness of Lost, but actual real life programmes. Not the “moan at the stupidity of reality-tv” but the real stories that have been floating about. First there was the BBC’s Execution of a teenage girl, about a 16 year old […]