January Reads

I’ve been lucky to start the year with three cracking reads. Here’s what kept me turning the pages last month:

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The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan, so was very excited to dive into this 700+ page beast of a book. I’m delighted to say it didn’t disappoint. Theo Decker is a wonderful, complicated and deeply frustrating protagonist (he reminded me of times of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye) and every line of this novel is perfection. I especially loved the first few pages of the novel, where the author sets up a deep, emotional connection between Theo and one character in particular, whose absence then artfully drives the narrative for the rest of the novel. Tartt is in a class of her own.

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The Night Rainbow – Claire King

I’d heard a lot of buzz about this novel when it was first published last year, I was intrigued by the title, AND I’d spotted a stonking quote from one of my favourite authors (Maggie O’Farrell) on its cover, so there were PLENTY of reasons for me to dive into this debut. I read it over the course of three days and King transported me straight to a long, hot summer in France and into the vivid imagination of her vulnerable young heroine, Pea. While I guessed a twist in the novel quite early on, it didn’t spoil the book for me at all. There was a growing sense of tension to keep me turning the pages and so much to love about King’s exquisite prose and her vivid depictions of the landscape. Brilliant.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

I hadn’t read anything by Richard Flanagan before, but my husband waxed lyrical about this novel over the holidays so I felt compelled to pick it up. The novel follows the story of Dorrigo Evans, a WW2 soldier forced to work as a POW on the construction of the Thai-Burma railway. The book features a poignant love story, but to me the most moving moments of the novel were in Flanagan’s exploration of  fraternal love and friendship amongst the men suffering in the most extreme and brutal circumstances. Powerful and poignant, there are scenes and revelations in this book that will haunt me for a long time to come.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you have anything good to recommend to me? x

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4 comments

  1. May I wax lyrical about your books first? I LOVED your Secret of The Tides and have just started The Shadow Year which for some reason was not readily available here in Canada (maybe this has changed in the last two months?).
    In January I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – highly recommended fictionalized account of the love affair of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife. I have added your 3 recommendations to my growing list of must reads 🙂

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments. I hope you enjoy The Shadow Year – I’m not sure if availability is tied in some way to the rights deal with Grand Central Publishing in the US but they will publish The Shadow Year in May. Sounds like you got your hands on a copy in the end though… hurrah! 🙂

      I loved The Paris Wife too – such a great read. (The manuscript left on the train – arrrgh – I felt for them both!) I also loved Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman which has an equally evocative historical vibe, threaded through a great story of suspense/mystery. Have you read that one?

      Thanks for getting in touch – lovely to hear from you. H x

      1. I managed to get hold of a copy of Secrets of the Tides in South Africa while I was there on holiday last year and The Shadow Year I purchased from the States. As they say where there is a will there is a way:-) Thank you for the recommendation – no haven’t read Tigers in Red Weather – sounds wonderful! Have a great week Hannah.

  2. Richard Flanagan’s debut novel Death of a a River Guide inspired me as a 21 year old,to take up pen and paper and write him a letter to thank him for giving a voice to the vision of what I saw when I witnessed the drowning deaths of my father and brother. It was a hugely affecting book. He wrote me back the loveliest, most sincere letter. In the end, it is a healing book, with it’s own brand of (a kind of) spirituality.

    I am meandering through your posts, having just discovered your beautiful blog, so don’t feel any heed to reply to my comments.
    Dani x

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