The End We Start From – Megan Hunter (Book Review)

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A book recommend by a bookseller friend of mine, under the guise of “give it a go, I’m not sure, see what you think”:

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

The book follows a small, new family evacuating London due to a freak flood, putting even their top floor flat under water. As they, along with many other cities, flee to higher ground in search of refuge, they develop and learn quickly how to deal with their new found parenthood in a desperate world.

Through the travels, challenges are met with dwindling food reserves and the turning of people on one another. Friends are met and made too; companions to suffer alongside.

The book focuses largely though on the relationship between the narrator and her newborn son, Z. All characters are referred to only by letters through the book: R, O, G, N etc. but I felt that this detracted little from the comprehension (though I know it has bothered some). Why just letters? I couldn’t claim to know. Perhaps the identification of the individuals, couple with the un-named narrator,  hints at the lack of need for personifying the individuals, but focus on their relationships instead – community and family above individuality. I don’t know.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve not face the trials and blessings of motherhood (rather difficult as a man) or the unique connection between child and the mother that bore him, but I couldn’t always sympathise entirely with the narrator’s feelings.

Ultimately I guess Z represents new beginning at the end of London as it currently is- taking baby-steps out onto the ruined landscape.

An interesting book, and I appreciate (as I’ve mentioned before) authors who are willing to take a risk in giving a unique writing style. I’d be interested to read more by the author…

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The Postman’s Fiancée – Denis Théirault (Book Review)

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I mentioned a little while back in a post titled Five Book Tags that I recommend a book called “The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman” to everyone – well I found out the author was writing a sequel, and after some waiting, it has arrived!

Twenty-two-year-old Tania has moved to Montreal to study, fine-tune her French and fall in love. Finding work as a waitress in an unpretentious down-town restaurant, she meets Bilodo, a shy postman who spends his days perfecting his calligraphy and writing haiku. The two hit it off. But then one stormy day their lives take a dramatic turn, and as their destinies become entwined Tania and Bilodo are led into a world where nothing is as it seems.

The book is a sequel I never expected with the ending of the previous being so rounded perfectly – so I was a bit curious to how this would fit in:

This sequel fits into the first in an unexpected way, which though works, felt a bit like forcing an almost-correct jigsaw piece next to another.

The characters are almost equally creepy in their approach to romance – Tania taking advantage of Bilodo’s amnesia to trick him into thinking he once lover her is a little bit strange to call a romance – though that’s how many have classified the book.

There is humour throughout too which fits perfectly, and the writing style is indescribably surreal, giving a weird atmosphere to the book so unlike your typical novel.

I’m afraid to say though that following the first one, this one is a bit less perfectly rounded – it leads some unanswered questions that the prequel didn’t, and though it was a good read – it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped!

The ending relied too much on Bilodo being somewhat blind to the obvious, with the haiku of Granpré, the mysterious English professor, being such a giveaway, he’d have to almost never have read them to not see the clues throughout – which frankly, I don’t believe he would have done.

Still, they are both worth reading – and I am glad I have done so.

 

Update post #1

I’m currently struggling to complete any books, and as this blog has developed into somewhat of a book-focused one, I feel I must emphasise to myself and those who follow that I have not ceased to write.

I’m currently reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, and have few others I want to get through… Work, life: it’s busy, I’m sure you can sympathise.

I hope you are all well.

Not busy at work,
Too busy outside of it:
Wouldn’t mind a swap.

I hit my Goodread’s reading target last month, and need to get back on the wagon with the pressured reading – especially due to the books I have to get though being generally rated highly…

I’m also doing a bit of writing too when I get chance – short stories if I can. I feel my novel ideas were not my style, weirdly:

Ideas don’t make poetry; you need to have words.” – Paraphrased quote I read in an interesting essay (may deserve a blog post).

More to follow, hopefully soon!

The Tale of the Wish Fish

As I walked one sunny day
Beside the river, by the way
Mine eyes did catch upon a shimmer:
A sparkling 50 pence in the river

So in I waded to the middle
Though why I did presents a riddle
For I should remember I cannot swim
And so began to sink within

But along you came by the river walking
Becoming alerted to my squawking
The seconds to react barely counted three
You threw the nearby lifebuoy to me

I caught hold and slipped inside
Feeling some damage to my pride
For your reward I reached once stabled
And caught the gold creature believed to be fabled

“Now take hold of mine Wish Fish
And make thou thy Wish”

[A silly poetic version of a story I decided was true when walking one evening with my girlfriend].