Sample Saturday – a girl, a painting, and a murder


Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

This week, the three samples I’ve selected are the three books on the Baileys Prize 2016 shortlist that I haven’t read (yet).

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Summary: Ruby Bell flees her hometown after suffering a violent and terrible childhood. She builds a life in New York. A telegram forces her to return home.

I’m thinking: Maybe – if it wins, I’ll read it but the style didn’t pull me in from the first page.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild  

Summary: The discovery of a forgotten eighteenth-century masterpiece (called ‘The Improbability of Love’) uncovers dark secrets and creates the chance for love for the owner.

I’m thinking: No – begins more like a cosy-mystery than a literary-prize-prospect, so not really my scene.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

Summary: One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society (but it’s a story about a family more than about the murder).

I’m thinking: Yes – immediately liked McInerney’s writing style.

17 responses

  1. I’ve not read Ruby but your instincts seem good to me on the other two – I really enjoyed Glorious Heresies but thought Rothchild book was pretty dull really. Cannot get why it’s reached the shortlist stage but hey, what do I know?!

    • Well your instincts are good too Col! There were a few nice turns of phrase in Ruby but it also seemed a little aimless – I think it has had good reviews so I’m sure it hits its stride but in contrast, I was right into Heresies from page one.

      • I’m finding Veblen’s mother eerily like my own. Also love the focus on families and what makes a good marriage. It’s really good, I can’t wait to see where it goes.

      • I know a mother-daughter pair where the mother is EXACTLY like Veblen’s – the dialogue could be one of their conversations. McKenzie is extremely talented – can’t wait to see what she does next.

      • Haven’t actually read anything else by her but will be looking for more – will be interested to see if magic realism is something she often uses or if it was unique to Veblen.

      • Also, even though I related less to Paul’s relationship with his family, I thought it was extremely well done. Both Veblen and Paul’s family relationships could have come off as stereotypical but McKenzie somehow avoided that, I think by including small, authentic details and writing very good dialogue.

  2. Oh my gosh- Ruby and Improbability are two of my favorites! Especially Improbability. I loved it- a novel where a painting is the narrator?! I see from the comments I stand alone on this one- I guess I have a soft spot for art novels.

    • Can’t think of many art novels I’ve read – maybe Siri Hustvedt… and I’m reading Tuesday Nights in 1980 at the moment, which seems to have an art theme. Anyway, I think of this bunch, Heresies had instant appeal.

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