Three novellas

The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik 

The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik is bananas. I knew it would be as soon as I read the brief but quite mad introduction by Meike Ziervogel, who refers to Fifty Shades of Grey and Freud (why the publishers at Peirene Press allowed any comparison to FSoG is beyond me).

The story focuses on Johanne’s relationship with her mother. Despite being a dedicated psychology-student, Johanne seems to have missed the memo that her mother is a textbook narcissistic.

Going to therapy would probably be educational for me, but my conscience won’t let me take a place from someone who really needs it.

Ørstavik maintains the tension from the first page until the last and while the overall plot was gripping, it was the dialogue between mother and daughter that was passive-aggressive perfection.

3.5/5 Memorable.

Smut: Two Unseemly Stories by Alan Bennett

I can’t say much about either of Bennett’s novellas, The Greening of Mrs Donaldson and The Shielding of Mrs Forbes because both contain perfect twists. Know that both stories have Bennett’s trademark dry wit, sharp dialogue and one has a literary punchline that reminded me of The Uncommon Reader and had me laughing out loud.

4/5 Unexpected and very funny.

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