Golden Braid: A book review of Hairway to Heaven Stories, a collection of short stories by Patty Somlo
Many of the short stories in Patty Somlo’s Hairway to Heaven were previously published elsewhere. While each story can stand alone, reading them all together in a single volume is an enormous advantage. One of the major accomplishments of Hairway to Heaven is its interconnections and associations, its themes and variations, which gradually resolve themselves – effortlessly, beautifully – into a novelistic whole. Hairway to Heaven is a very good book indeed.
All the Elements: A Spring Reads book review of The Book of Air, a novel by Joe Treasure
The Book of Air by Joe Treasure is an exceptionally fine novel that discloses its secrets gradually, in triumphantly unexpected ways. The stories it tells gather momentum and significance with each short chapter; it is populated by personages in whom we can believe; it is profoundly intelligent and deeply engrossing. Its allusions and references are delightfully subtle and oblique, conveyed effortlessly by the author’s gift for language and ideas. I doubt I shall read a finer novel this year.
Out of the Wilderness: A non-literary book review of A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety, by Michelle Balge
As Michelle Balge acknowledges in her epilogue to A Way Out, the trouble with mental illness is that so much of it is ‘about me, me, me and how I’m insecure, but this is what these illnesses do to you.’ It follows that A Way Out does not hesitate to divulge its author’s most intimate secrets in her long battle with depression and social anxiety. Such honesty and candour lays bare an individual life in ways that illuminate our own experiences of mental illness: in speaking of herself, she speaks of us all.
Feed the Monkey is just one of many excellent blogs reviewing books for this event. I shall be dropping by as many of them as I can, so please take a look at them as well.
The novel I chose to review is The Book of Air by Joe Treasure. Fortunately for us all, it turned out to be among the best books I have ever read, as you will see when my review is published on 27 March.
New Friendships, Old Trauma: Book review of Tess and Tattoos, a short story by H. A. Leuschel
Tess and Tattoos by H. A. Leuschel is a short story whose thematic concerns revolve around the figure of Tess, a cultured woman in her eighties who resides in a Scottish care home, and whose life is reaching its end. Lonely and isolated, she strives to preserve her independence and dignity, but is haunted by her troubled past and a sense of a life wasted. Tess is a well-drawn, sympathetic character and the environment of the care home and its gardens is competently realized.
I write literary and contemporary fiction: novels and short stories.
I also write book reviews and blog about writing, publishing and indie authors.
My career is in publishing: writing, copyediting, project management, both in-house and as a freelancer.