Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kindle Bargains

The China BirdThere are many great advantages to having a Kindle from carrying a ton of books whilst travelling by air to being able to buy a book while lounging at the side of your swimming pool, but one of the best reasons for converting to an e-reader for me has been the affordability of reading material. There are some great bargains on offer at Amazon. One of my latest purchases was China Bird by Bryony Doran.

It tells the story of Edward, a sad and solitary man in his late middle-aged, twisted-spined and hump-backed, a loner who works in the archive basement of the library, lodges with Mrs Ingrams who makes his tea and ruins his laundry, and hoards letters from his mother. Like many an unmarried man with an aging, widowed mother, Edward finds his relationship with Rachel, his mother, somewhat strained. Unlike many of those men, his relationship was always that way. Rachel, the mother in question, is not a particularly unhappy widow. The best she can say of her late husband is that he was a good man. Rachel has had  a secret life as a life model for an Art College and holds a dark family secret. Then there is  the novel's main female character, Angela. Young, beautiful and studying art with true passion, she is hugely talented. In Edward, Angela finds her muse. Fascinated by his deformity and his solitary journey in life, Angela persuades Edward to pose for her as she prepares for her masters portfolio and she expects him to pose nude. As the work progresses, Edward awakens from years of suppressed emotion and apathy and begins to take an interest in the world around him, in his own being, and – naturally – in Angela. Their relationship is the prime focus of the novel, as it develops along a tightrope of understanding, empathy, misunderstanding, love, repulsion, attraction and confusion. It is a delicate novel - not over-emotional it hovers and quietly insists that you turn just one more page.
All of this cost me just 99p!!! It was one of Amazon's daily Kindle deals and the book kept me spellbound for its duration. I shall be enjoying more of her work int he future I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pure Poetry!

A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests.

A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...

A year unlike any other he has lived.
Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.
At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.
A strange topic for a book but I have so enjoyed reading this historical novel by Andrew Miller. Pure fiction - I can see why it won the Costa Book of the Year (2011)