Saturday, 12 January 2019

History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund is another beautifully written novel, poetic and intelligent and complex, and one which leaves the reader more troubled than finding a sense of resolution by the end - but this novel also left me wanting to read it all over again as life is rarely about resolution, even if we feel that's what we want. For resolution read redemption.

Don't let me put you off if you prefer a nicely-resolved / redemptive ending as this novel is so worth reading on every level. It's about something which should not have happened and it's about responsibility and guilt and secrets and desire and longing and a life's journey shaped as much by upbringing as circumstance and the decisions we make along the way.

The central character - Linda / Mattie / Madeline / the babysitter - shows how we are all known by different facets of ourselves to different people, and how we perhaps only know the true facets of ourselves through what we chose not to reveal to others. 

This is also a story of heartbreaking loneliness, and I can really say no more without giving away everything this book wants you to discover for yourself.

~

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Brilliant! 

I absolutely adore Eleanor Oliphant. This is a beautifully-written book: honest, insightful, and humorous, and the voice of Eleanor Oliphant is one of the best characterisations I've read for a long time.

This is a novel about loneliness, and the devastating isolation which can occur both alone and in a crowd, and which, as this novel explores, can be internalised through deliberately negative human actions as much as through circumstance. Leaving aside the occasional hint of didacticism on occasion, the novel explores the necessity of human kindness and meaningful human contact for instilling a sense of self-worth as well as day-to-day survival with poignancy and humour, creating an intense story of cruelty, tragedy, and survival, which is also laugh-out-loud funny alot of the time. Eleanor's voice - her quirky, aspergic logic, and her intense social anxiety, balanced against her need for love, kindness, and acceptance - shines all the way through this wonderful novel. I absolutely adore her.

Sunday, 16 December 2018


Have you heard the news...?



Witherstone is to be published by UCLan Publishing

This fab indie publishing house has such illustrious books as
Cold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley, nominated for the CILIP Carnegie and the Kate Greenaway Children's Book awards, on their list so to be joining this prestigious publishing house is mind-blowingly exciting! Woo-hoooooo! 



Saturday, 23 December 2017

The Write Club and a little bit of Witherstone

What an honour to have been invited to read an extract from Witherstone for the Write Club discussion this evening!

The podcast was, as ever, a wonderfully diverse discussion, including the writers' favourite books as younger readers, and although it's hard to choose just one from all the fabulous alternative universes I inhabited every day of my childhood (and still do, ha ha), my favourite was probably Tom's Midnight Garden - I loved it so much I read it into adulthood... and those who know me well know just how much I love the story of Tom and Hatty in that magical garden....

Write Club said some very kind things about Witherstone, and discussed the importance of not talking down to children when writing, discussed the wonderful Narnia books, and also discussed another inviting pile of new things to read over Christmas. It's a great group, easy-going and full of enthusiasm for writing and for reading, their podcasts are time delightfully well spent for readers and writers. 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Write Club

So enjoying listening to the Write Club podcasts.

This group of writers discuss everything from why we write to how we find excuses not to write (the noble art of procrastination!), and as well as reading short extracts from their own writing, they discuss research, approaches to writing, writing exercises, and the importance of reading, ending the podcasts with discussions of the books on their bedside tables.

It's easy-going and invariably humerous, and yet thought-provoking and gives the creative urge a kick up the proverbial. As well as giving writers a chance to engage with what and how other writers are writing and reading, you can join in their discussion on their Facebook page as well as on their podcast page. It's like being in a friendly and supportive writer's group without having to take the trouble to go out and find one!