Okay, well the books I'd like to recommend to you this month are:
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Stuart - A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters
- Betrayal by Karin Alvtegen
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
I know that this is a bit of a Marmite book! Some people (like me) have adored it; others can't get past the fairly horrific description of the accident in the opening chapter (just skip it, you'll be fine); some find it odd and don't know what to make of it.
The narrator of the book is a young man who is involved with an horrific crash in which he is very badly burned. While he is recuperating in hospital, he is visited by a sculptress - Marianne Engel - who says that this is not the first time that she has nursed him back to health. She tells him that they were lovers in Mediaeval Germany, when he was a badly burned mercenary and she a nun and a scribe.
The book follows them as Marianne nurses him and tells him their story plus other tales which have links to their life now. I found it beautiful, poignant, moving and a book I could read again (which is rare for me).
Stuart - A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters
For once, I saw the film of this (with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy) before I read the book, and in fact, the film is a pretty faithful adaptation of the book. But as ever, I would still say, "Read the book!"
This is the blurb:
This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer (‘a middle-class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander’), and Stuart Shorter, a homeless, knife-wielding thief. Told backwards – Stuart’s idea – it starts with a deeply troubled thirty-two-year-old and ends with a ‘happy-go-lucky little boy’ of twelve. This brilliant biography, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, presents a humbling portrait of homeless life, and is as extraordinary and unexpected as the man it describes.I thought it was a wonderful book and found the concept very interesting. It's a biography in reverse - starting with Stuart as an adult and tracking back, to find out at what point Stuart's life had taken the turn that would lead him to being homeless and with mental health issues. Now, you might be thinking that this is a sad book and in fairness, at times it is incredibly moving. But it is also hilarious in places, especially the conflict between Alexander and Stuart who are very different characters! Go on. Give it a shot.
Betrayal by Karin Alvtegen
I adore Karin Alvtegen's books. They are really creepy but in an insidious way, rather than being completely in your face.
Betrayal is one of those books where you know what's going to happen and you're yelling at the character in the book not to do something but the ending just rolls on in, despite all your exhortations.
At the start of the book, Jonas watches over his girlfriend who is in a coma. It isn't clear what has happened to her for her to be in this state. He is tender and attentive; caring for his girlfriend as she lies there. On his way out of the hospital, he meets Eva and their lives become entwined.
I don't want to tell you any more than that because to do so would spoil it! You'll just have to try it for yourself.
Other book finds:
Book finds - August 2016