The Reading List #35
It’s reading list time again, and there are a few here which I’ve recommended multiple times already.
Mini-reviews lie ahead…
Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set in 1960s Nigeria, against a backdrop of civil war, this tells the story of Richard, an English university lecturer, Olanna, who has left a life of privilege to be with him, and Ugluu, Richard’s houseboy. The horrors of war touch each of these individuals and those around them, and loyalties are tested. I knew very little about Nigerian history, including this particular period, and it was a fascinating, if brief, insight which made me want to research a little further. The characters and writing were stunning, and this is a novel I will recommend again and again.
Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey
Maud keeps forgetting things, but the one thing she is sure of is that Elizabeth is missing. Her scraps of paper and fragmented memories lead to an investigation into a 70 year-old mystery. This book had an interesting premise, and I loved the first half to two-thirds of it. It was heart-breaking being inside that forgetful mind, and you can see how it is affecting those around Maud, too. However, towards the end I thought the convincing nature of the voice was lost in order to neatly round up all the loose ends of the mystery. I think I would almost have preferred an ambiguous ending, as that would have kept the whole novel and voice much more believable.
The Rubbish Picker’s Wife, Elizabeth Gowing
*Copy sent for review*
Travel-writing is not normally a genre I lean towards, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Whilst Gowing is in Kosovo, among the Ashkali people, she finds a community, a purpose, and a home from home. Although this was billed as a story of the blossoming friendship between two women, to me that was not the focus of the book at all. Gowing’s relationship with Hatemja certainly opens her eyes, but for me the bit of the book to shout about was the power of education and community, and a woman finding her purpose. It was easy to read and fairly fast-paced, and would certainly fuel wanderlust for those with a desire to travel and discover something different.
Wool, Shift & Dust, a trilogy by Hugh Howey
The landscape has turned hostile, and those who survived now exist as a community in an underground silo. There are strict rules and a defined hierarchy, but some dare to dream of a different world. I was impressed by this trilogy - it was a well-constructed world with some good characters, although I thought parts could have been taken further. There were some characters, ideas and confrontations I would have loved to explore further. I’ve not really read anything else quite like this, and definitely enjoyed it.
Let me know what I should move onto next!