Novellas in November

Novellas in November is hosted by Cathy of 746 Books and Rebecca of Bookish Beck.

Cathy and Rebecca have set a category for each week – there are no rules as such (although they suggest that 150–200 pages is the upper limit for a novella, and post-1980 as a definition of ‘contemporary’).

I’m going to use Novellas in November to whip through some of my towering TBR stack. I have lots to choose from. Here are the possibilities: Continue reading

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Second Place was my introduction to Rachel Cusk. I quickly became engrossed in the story and wondered why I had expected her writing to be impenetrable. Where had this impression come from? Other readers? Reviews? Her regular appearance on literature award lists? Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised – no, relieved – to find Second Place highly ‘readable’. No persistence required. Continue reading

Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer

I rarely write standalone reviews for novellas, but Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer, has lingered in a way that I didn’t quite expect.

The story begins in Vegas, where ‘Joan’, is starting over – she buys a new dress; dyes and curls her hair; and begins smoking – all suited to a woman named ‘Joan’, she decides. She finds a job waitressing; allows herself to be distracted by the neon lights of Vegas; and does her best to forget the past, notably her relationship with a man named Jack.

She refuses to feel sad… but something happens to her physically. Ache is too soft a word. Continue reading

Sample Saturday – three November 2019 releases

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 were profiled in Susan’s November 2019 ‘Books to Look Out For’ selections. Continue reading

The Cook by Maylis de Kerangal

When you’re young, and you’re making decisions about school subjects and careers, there are inevitably pressures. For some kids, their passions line-up with family or social expectations. Lucky them. For others, expectations can steer them away from what they’d really, really like to be doing. I think we all know of that person who desperately wanted to be a carpenter or an artist or in advertising, yet they come from a ‘family of doctors’ and suddenly find their Year 12 dominated by chemistry and biology rather than graphic design. Personally speaking, I traded a Forestry degree for Environmental Planning – I think I probably would have ended up in the same place regardless but I can’t deny that my mum’s concerns about my being posted as a park ranger somewhere remote, didn’t go unheard. Continue reading