Are you all ready for the Bank Holiday-Diamond Jubilee bonanza weekend? At W&T we've decided to create two display bays for the weekend. Brush up on British pride. Not a Royalist? For couch potatoes that won't brave the hordes, some armchair travels awaits :)
Imagine multiple afterlives. Imagine they are not as usually portrayed - not just harps and angels and pearly gates. One of them is a waiting room. This is where you go and you must wait, and wait, and wait. Until your name is no longer spoken on the earthly plane. Otherwise, you're stuck.
David Eagleman's deceptively simple scenarios in this collection of short stories can be read in a few ways. As the wanderings of a very imaginative mind. Or the musings of a neuroscientist (which is what he is) about the correlation between the mind, the body and the soul. Or a man who's just trying to remind us to stop griping and be grateful for all the many little things we take for granted, 'cos life really ain't that bad. Read it whichever way you like. You'll still be amused no doubt. - Fran
I really, really enjoyed this book. Read it in two days I did. Was transported to Mississippi circa 1960s, into leafy suburbs with rusty Cadillacs lining dust streets, where at any moment I imagined Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman's FBI agents would turn round the corner and would not be amiss. A story with believable, likeable protagonists, and where a few 'villains' are, it must be given, wafer thin in terms of personality or character development. Nevertheless, a story with heart and a good handful of twists and turns to keep the page turning. And I ended up rooting for a good ending for all the long-suffering, tough-as-old-boots, indomitable women who inhabited this novel. In fact, I 'saw' the entire book in my mind's eye as a Hallmark/HBO mini series with Oprah or Lisa Bonnet on the cast. Nothing wrong with that. Visceral, visual and exhilarating. - Fran
You know I haven't read fiction in quite a while, and I found myself feeling quite tentative when I decided to foray back into this genre. I'm not really sure why but I tend to go through spells when it comes to reading. If I'm doing non-fiction, that's all I do for a while, and over the last couple of years, it's been nothing but non-fiction, history or self development stuff.
But hey, you have to hand it to the publishers, Sceptre. The blurb on the back cover of The Other Hand reads more like an instruction manual than a synopsis, and it caught my eye. It's cleverly worded and potential buyers are admonished to not tell others what it's about after they've read it. So... like the good girl I am, I will not spoil it for anyone else. Except to say that when I read the first paragraph, I knew I had to buy it.
The book starts like this:
Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit with you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead - but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold Coca Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each other's names.
Now, who can resist an opener like this? I couldn't. It's a cleverly told tale about two women, who meet under extraordinary circumstances, and who years later, meet again. While the storyline is certainly engrossing, I enjoyed the book in large part because of Chris Cleave's mastery of imagery and the way in which he uses words in telling this unusual story. I remember the last time I felt such admiration was when I read Arthur Golden's 'Memoirs of a Geisha.'
But beyond all that, The Other Hand also paints a vivid picture of the trials and tribulations faced by an asylum seeker. Oops, I hope I haven't given too much away. This is definitely a worthy read. - Fran