by Kazuo Ishiguro. A life lived. In pre-WWII England future Nazi’s gather at Darlington Hall. Downton Abbey meets Brideshead Revisited. Stevens the Butler has little curiosity about that but rather focuses on what makes a butler great. How does one measure one’s value in this world? Dignity. Loyalty. In the early 1950’s, on a seven-day sojourn away from the Hall after decades of service, Stevens discovers what he’s missed. Or does he? A flat aspect characterizes this man’s inability to connect on an intimate level and the ability to turn… Read more The Remains of the Day →
Fascinating reads. NYTimes’ Alexandra Alter article on the alarming similarities between Sarah Dinzel’s Saving April, and the wildly best selling The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory). Alter references Ian Parker’s even more stunning exposé in this month’s New Yorker about “The Talented Mr. Mallory.” Stranger than any fiction.
by Tara Westover. Finally got around to reading this harrowing page-turning memoir. The take-away is the lasting damage of psychopathic family systems. It leaves one sad that guilt can endure throughout even the most successful lifetime. Opportunities and talents beyond imagination didn’t deter Tara from returning to her unhealthy Idaho home. Masochistic? Maybe. A need to fix what was wrong with her loved ones to heal herself. A too familiar tale. Parents who fail to protect their kids, siblings who fail to protect each other. In order to each survive… Read more Educated →
Carol’s first carrel was on the third floor in the stacks of the Williston Memorial Library at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. A quiet respite where she could study and read during the day between classes and into the late night. A reserved carrel with personal photos and books and stuff that could stay there all through the semester. A treasured hideaway place. Mount Holyoke was the first women’s college in the United States. It was founded by Mary Lyon, a minister and a chemist, as a women’s… Read more Carol’s First Carrel →
by Leila Slimani. Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. A chilling one-sitting story of a nanny over the edge. It raises the question of who parents leave their most precious children with for ten hours a day while they pursue careers. And. The lack of appreciation for these caregivers as human beings with the right to lives and feelings. How can a person spend that amount of time raising kids from infancy not become attached? Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not. The translation is pretty well done, but there are… Read more The Perfect Nanny →
by Claire Fuller. Lyntons is an abandoned crumbling hulk of a once grand mansion in the English countryside. Its history interrupted by war when it was ravaged by military occupation. Cara, Peter & Frances, three damaged souls spend a summer in 1969 together in its ruins, a reflection of their own lives. Debauched and guilt-ridden, they use each other to deflect their own pain. It’s a tightly written piece which brings the reader into the scene. Victor the Vicar the only flaw. A better read than many this year. The second… Read more Bitter Orange →
by Tana French. Another hapless self-defeating young man. Seems to be a theme in recent reads. Without getting political, it’s an interesting phenomenon in the world of feminism and “toxic masculinity”. Maybe toxic misandry is more likely to have taken hold. This is a very long meandering “who done it”. Who didn’t? Mostly grey rather than black or white. Luck as a character. Life as an albatross. Based on a real mystery about Bella of 1943 whose skeleton was discovered in a Wych Elm. This tale takes on deception, harassment,… Read more The Witch Elm →
Best of the Year Golden Hill, Francis Spufford Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie Autumn, Ali Smith Shipping Out, David Foster Wallace Worth the Read The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin Warlight, Michael Ondaatje Memento Park, Mark Sarvas French Exit, Patrick DeWitt The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday The Innocent Wife (Red River), Amy Lloyd The Witch Elm, Tana French Bitter Orange, Claire Fuller Light Reading The French Girl, Lexie Elliott Laura and Emma, Kate Greathead The Ghost Notebooks, Ben Dolnick Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton The Banker’s Wife, Cristina Alger A… Read more Carol’s Carrel 2018 →