Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

It’s been years – no, decades – since I read any Virginia Woolf. And I’d be hard pushed to say what of hers I’ve read, apart from A Room of One’s Own (and when it’s so long ago, I’m not sure it counts).

Anyway, Mrs. Dalloway was in the reading stack and seemed like a decent starting point for Novella November. Continue reading

One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe

I’m certain there’s no shortage of books that examine the intricacies of a friendship over decades. Friendships can be tested at various junctures in a person’s life, particularly when people choose partners, become parents, experience successes or failures, or if there is significant financial inequity. The challenge in writing a novel about such events and the impact of these on the friendship, is that the compressed timeline can render events overly dramatic.

Another danger in the friendship story is that it becomes one-sided. Invariably, one friend has all the luck while the other has only misfortune.

Somehow Nina Stibbe sidesteps the pitfalls, and in One Day I Shall Astonish the World she has created an authentic story that captures the see-sawing of Susan and Norma’s friendship over many decades. Continue reading

Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller

Things that are truly innocent don’t need to be labelled as such.

I haven’t read a real page-turner for ages. My reading tends to be immersive in a different way – getting lost in lovely sentences, pausing to consider what I’ve read. Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal (also titled What Was She Thinking?) changed the routine. I raced through it, keen to see what happened to the (quite frankly) horrible characters. Continue reading