The Reading List #12
It’s that time again, and my next four books have been a mix yet again. I’m just going to get on with it…
The Auschwitz Violin, Maria Angels Anglada
In 1991 we see a violin being played, and then hear its story. Darwel, its creator, was a prisoner at Auschwitz, and made it during his time there. It is a short novel, but powerful, and the historical documents opening each chapter remind of the reality of these situations. It is about the power of music and memory, war and hardship, and is perfect for reading in one sitting.
This book was a bit of a gem, and a beautiful little meditation on a segment of the Second World War. It’s worth trying to grab a copy of.
Killer Queens, Rebecca Chance
This book features three overlapping stories of royalty: an American athlete in love with a European prince, an ordinary girl in love with the heir to the throne, and a princess who stages her own death. There are parallels between each story, and they all feature secrets and struggles, against a world of excess and tradition.
It really is a trashy read, and it’s a page-turner, but because it’s quite long you do actually get a reading experience out of it. It delivers what it claims to, and is good escapism, but nothing to shout from the rooftops about.
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
In New York, in August 1974, a tightrope walker balanced between the Twin Towers. Below him the world goes on, and the novel explores the stories of multiple strangers who happen to be in this place on this day. It’s another of those ‘observing the ordinary world, beautifully’ books I seem to have read a fair few of recently.
This almost reads like lots of short stories which combine to create the overall picture. It was well written, although I might have preferred to hear a little more about the rope event and the tightrope walker himself. All in all though, I did enjoy it.
The Siege of Krishnapur, J G Farrell
This novel is set in 1897 Krishnapur, a part of British-occupied India. Its inhabitants lead a dull life, but the Collector senses danger lies ahead. When the revolt happens, it is in scenes surrounded by momentoes of the Great Exhibition, and challenges the British colonial position.
I can understand why it was a Booker winner, in terms of content and issues that it features, but I was quite unmoved by any of the characters, and more found it ‘interesting’ than a great novel. Details on the place and period were very well written, so it is worth a read from that aspect, but I wouldn’t pass it on as a ‘must-read’.
What are you reading at the moment?