2021 September 17 · 18:04
I’ve read a lot of great books over the summer and now I have a huge amount of feedback to catch up with. Untidy Land Claire Fuller tells the story of 51 – year – old twins Jeanie and Julius, who still live with their mother in an isolated village until a sudden death forces them to face the harsh reality of life in the modern world and the truth lurking in the dark secrets of the family. . It’s a rather winding novel, often in a melancholy tone, but I really enjoyed Fuller’s rich descriptive prose, which captures the depressing atmosphere of the twins ’daily lives. “Unsettled Land” was shortlisted for this year’s Women’s Fiction Award, and while it’s no surprise that the judges won Susanna Clarke’s “Piranesi” last week, I think “Untidy Land” would have been a worthy winner as well, and I’ll definitely look for others Fuller’s novels.
Maybe I don’t belong here David Harewood is the story of a Homeland actor about his mental health disorder in his early 20s shortly after graduating from drama school, and the racism he experienced while growing up in the West Midlands in the 1970s and 1980s. The book follows the excellent documentary Harewood, made by the BBC a couple of years ago under the title Psychosis and Me, and sees him reflect on the impact of racism on mental health and identity in the most frightening of conditions. He was in the column twice during the illness and says, “I’m absolutely convinced that if I were in America when it collapsed, I would probably be dead.” Because of the racist exploitation he experienced as a child, he had a “black side and an English side,” and his fragmented sense of self and identity was evident in the nature of his failure, where the psychiatric report states, “The patient thinks he is two.” Harewood fully recovered and continued his successful career, making a documentary and making his medical notes on what happened during the illness obviously made a big impact on him.The informal and conversational style of Harewood is very engaging to read.Thank you very much Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy via NetGalley.
Published by my favorite independent press Bluemoose Books earlier this year, Jane Ions household bliss and other calamities is a comic novel about a middle – aged woman named Sally Forth who took a break from her job as a high school English teacher. Her son Dan, having graduated from performing arts, has returned to live with her, and her daughter Laura has recently given birth to a baby and is shocked to learn how difficult it is. Ions ’novel was included in 2021. Comedy Women In Print award list and written with a very dry sense of humor. I particularly enjoyed the competitive upbringing dynamics between Sally and her friends, and the portrayal of maternal adult children reminded me a little of the BBC comedy Mama, whose main character, played by Lesley Manville, is not appreciated by almost anyone around her. Overall, it’s easy and fun to read.
Sunjeev Sahota Chinese Room is the author’s third novel and is partly inspired by his own family history. In the village of Punjab in 1929. Mehar is one of three teenage girls married to three brothers, but they are not allowed to know which brother they are married to. Women work during the day in the family’s “porcelain room” away from their husbands, until at night their mother-in-law invites her to have a son in a dark room. Eventually, Mehar thinks he has figured out which brother is her husband, but this has dangerous consequences for her. Seventy years later, an unnamed Mehar’s grandson travels from England to India, first staying with his aunt and uncle, and later to the now abandoned farm where Mehar lived, and before starting university, he tries to get rid of his heroin addiction. Sahota subtly draws thematic connections between narratives, and Mehar’s story is stronger and more memorable. I liked Sahota’s second novel, The Year of Running. Was included in the Booker Award list, and I was a little surprised that China Room also didn’t make it to this list (I only read one other long-listed name) far away, so I can’t comment on the rest yet). Thank you so much to Random House, Vintage Books for sending me a copy of the review via NetGalley.