No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

I spent the first half of Patricia Lockwood’s No One is Talking About This thinking “What…?” (similar reading experience to Fun Camp by Gabe Durham). And at some point I updated my progress on Goodreads by noting that I didn’t think I was cool enough for this book… because what the hell was going on? And then SUDDENLY it shifts gear, and the first part of the book sits in stark contrast to the second.

Something in the back of her head hurt. It was her new class consciousness. Continue reading

Milkman by Anna Burns

I need a special rating for books that I’m glad I read but didn’t particularly enjoy. Milkman by Anna Burns is such a book.

There’s much to admire in Milkman. Burns’s unwavering and meticulous stream-of-consciousness account of the Troubles is told through the eyes of our unnamed narrator, an eighteen-year-old girl who comes from a large family impacted by political violence. Although the narrator is trying to distance herself from the turmoil that surrounds her, she is drawn in after being accused of having an affair with a married man known as ‘milkman’ (this is despite the narrator having a ‘maybe-boyfriend’). In fact, the milkman is stalking the narrator, and it is soon revealed that he is a paramilitary figure who holds great power in the community.

As for the community, and my affair with the milkman according to this community, I was now well in it, that being the case whether I was or not. It was put about I had regular engagements with him, rendezvous, intimate ‘dot dot dots’ at various ‘dot dot dot’ places. Continue reading

Sample Saturday – three stories about books

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, all three samples are ones that I’ve had for years, and all three are stories based around books. Continue reading

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart – a literary mix tape

There’s nothing I can say about Douglas Stuart’s 2020 Booker Prize winning novel, Shuggie Bain, that hasn’t already been said. Know that I laughed, I cried, and I ached for Shuggie, his alcoholic mother, Agnes, and his siblings. This story is raw and tender and hopeful and heartbreakingly sad.

In my tradition of not reviewing books that have a squillion reviews on Goodreads, I have instead put together a mix tape, drawing on some favourite passages in the book. Needless to say, I had dozens to choose from in Shuggie.

5/5 Shuggie has my heart. Continue reading