Abandoned Part 1: Still Marginally Undecieded

I hate abandoning books, particularly when I have invested the time to read more than just a few pages. After a fair amount of deliberation I have decided to abandon these three novels. They aren’t bad novels and I feel guilty for not giving them just one more go… Who knows, they may be retrieved from my icloud if I have a moment of weakness…

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah, a paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times. Jeremiah’s activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the centre of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.

This is actually a really well written novel and I feel guilty for not sticking with it and doing the author justice. It is a difficult story with a gritty and depressing setting yet I found it very readable. I always prefer to read something weighty but I after a while I found this novel just too upsetting. I think this is because since having my son I have become more sensitive to some stories about children. The plot itself is also rather plodding and atmospheric, beautifully written but sort of prolonging the misery.
Thank you to Random House (Cornerstone) for a copy of the title to review.

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The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business …They have everything. However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.

This should be a super quick and easy psychological thriller to read. I like the story and do want to find out what happens in the end but…something about the story keeps jarring and interrupting the flow which means there have been long reading breaks between chapters. Perhaps it is Rachel’s cool assessment of her loveless marriage that begins to bore me; she likes to describe their soulless of her home and explain her justifications for staying in the marriage. Or maybe I just find her annoyingly passive for an intelligent character.
Thank you to Sam Eades at Pan Macmillan for a copy of the title to review.

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 Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again. Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse.

Station Eleven is one of the most popular books out there at the moment and I was surprised (but not shocked) to see it on the Bailey’s Prize Longlist. I started reading it last year and just couldn’t get into it. Not only did I find the opening scenes set in the present rather stilted, I wasn’t interested in all the different characters, nor did I particularly like all the references to Shakespeare’s plays. I relegated it to easy reading on public transport but that didn’t end up working out. I only got to the part where the preacher is introduced so maybe it gets better? In my mind I kept comparing this novel to Eden Lepucki’s California (my review), which probably didn’t help. It is with reluctance I give up on this novel as I worry I am missing out on something…
Thank you to Pan Macmillan (Picador) for a copy of the title to review.

 

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