Monday, 21 March 2011

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna traces the life of its main character, Harrison Shepherd, as his life moves back and forth between Mexico and the United States, encountering and touching on historical characters and events of the 20th century. This includes working as a cook and typist for the Mexican painters Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera and later for exiled revolutionary Trotsky, and then in the U.S. being embroiled in McCarthy's pursuit of communists.

It begins with him as a 12 year old living on Isla Pixol in Mexico with his mother. It is during this time that he begins to keep a diary where he records the events around him and the book is largely in the form of Shelpherd's diaries, as he beautifully yet somewhat curiously captures the turbulent historical events unfurling around him. These historical characters and events are beautifully realised as the book focuses on smaller, personal moments such as Trotsky feeding his chickens. These events are captured with a slightly dream like feel and the book in some ways reminded me of the Magic Realism of authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The Lacuna is a book that can be savoured and enjoyed on many levels - for its wonderful writing, larger than life characters (both real and imagined), for its glimpse into historical events of the 20th century, or as a larger comment on life and humanity that resonates with events that continue today

Deb

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Playing the game by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford is always good for an entertaining read embracing lots of emotion mixed with suspense, international intrigue, a touch of romance and nearly always with a feminist undertone. This latest novel from this famous author is no different.

Annette Remmington, a London art consultant and private dealer, is at the top of her game. She is considered a rising star in the international world of art, and has a roster of wealthy clients who trust her judgement and her business acumen. Her success reaches new heights when a rare and long lost Rembrant finds its way into her hands, which she restores and sells for top dollar. Called the auction of the year, Annette becomes the most talked about art dealer in the world.

Annette is married to her mentor and personal champion, the much older Marius Remmington. For twenty years, Marius has groomed her into the international art star that she has become, not to mention saving her from a dark and gritty past. She is his pride and joy, and as her best advisor, it's with great care that he hand picks only the best journalist possible to do a profile on his beloved wife in a popular London Sunday newspaper. Jack Chalmers is a bit of a celebrity himself, becoming one of the top journalists of his time. Marius believes only he will be able to capture the true brilliance of his lovely wife. But Marius never intends to put his marriage in jeopardy. how could he have known that the connection between Jack and Annette would ignite so many secrets? And how could he know that Jack would uncover a scandal that could ultimately destroy them all?

Definitely thrilling even if a little predictable for those familiar with Bradford's writing. Well worth giving this a go.

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Thursday, 3 March 2011

What to read next?

If you are looking for inspiration regarding what to read next there are great lists available on the Good Reads website. Lists include Worst book of all time, The book was better than the movie, Stories for book lovers, Books that everyone should read at least once, and heaps more. There are literally hundreds of lists that cover so many different types of reads - thrillers, graphic novels, romance, literature, etc. so there is sure to be something to intrigue and inspire.

Deb