Our Book Recommendations August 2022 are here

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Reviewed by Feige 

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

Trust follows the lives of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a Wall Street Tycoon and she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. They have risen to the top of what seems like endless wealth until the stock market crashes in 1929. 

The mystery of how they acquired their fortunes is at the center of a successful novel published in 1937 called bonds, but there are other version of this tale. As one woman is set on separating fact from fiction, these competing narratives weave into each other building over a century and revealing pieces bit by bit in an exhilarating fashion. 

Book club Notes 

I loved how this book was structured. The ‘story within a story within a story’ quoted on the back cover is completely true and is done exceptionally well. Hernan Diaz does a brilliant job at storytelling from different vantage points in a harmonious way. 

It’s the kind of harmony and stunning crescendo I found lacking in ‘To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara’. 

The storyline is richly layered, excellent and captivating, the writing is superb and the protagonists are deeply interesting. I enjoyed it so much that it’s going straight onto our best books of 2022 list, and more notably on my 5 favorite novels list.

Words that Stuck with Me

“Every Life is organized around a small number of events that either propel us or bring us to a grinding halt. We spend the years between these episodes benefitting or suffering from their consequences until the arrival of the next forceful moment.”

The Love of my Life by Rosie Walsh

Reviewed by Zissy

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

Emma is quasi-famous marine biologist who loves her daughter Ruby and husband Leo and the life they’ve created for themselves. The problem is almost everything she’s told them about herself and her past is a lie. When Emma faces a serious illness her husband Leo, an obituary writer copes the only way he knows how – by writing her obituary. As he starts uncovering the past of the wife he thinks he knows, he uncovers that the woman he loves doesn’t exist. Her name isn’t even Emma. 

Book club Notes 

There are books that hook you at the first page and those you need a while to get into, this is the former. By the end of the 2-page prologue I knew it was going to be a book I didn’t want to put down yet didn’t want to end. The storyline is intriguing and slowly reveals itself through the vantage point of both Leo and Emma. I loved that I was never quite sure where it was headed and was surprised by each new revelation. The writing and storytelling is magnificent. There is subtle humor and the perfect amount of detail. This is Rosie Walsh’s second novel and reading it made me want to look up her first book, The Man Who Didn’t Call, to put on my reading list just to enjoy her brilliant writing. 

That Green Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan

Reviewed by Zissy

Published by Penguin Books

In a nutshell 

This novel flits between 1955 and 1975 and the lives of two separate tenants of the same New York apartment. In 1955 it was home schoolteachers Dovie and Gillian who created a home where they could be fully themselves. They guarded their secret home life fiercely until someone guessed the truth. 

In 1975, some twenty years later, Dovie and Gillian are long gone, and their old apartment is now home to teenager Ava Winters and her troubled mother. On the day her mother disappears, a box arrives at their apartment with a picture of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across her face. Ava doesn’t know who the woman is, what the picture means or who sent it, but she’s determined to find the woman in the picture and uncover the secrets of Apartment 3B. 

Book club Notes 

This is one of those books that you devour, which I did in the course of a day. It’s an easy read but not in the fluffy sense, there’s depth to the characters. It’s got a unique storyline, is paced perfectly and tells a vivid and heartbreaking story of love, loss, growing up and identity in a time where to be fully yourself oftentimes meant hiding who you were. 

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami

Reviewed by Feige

Published by Pan Macmillan

In a nutshell 

This novel centers around thirty-something Fuyuko Irie, a freelance writer who lives alone, barely has contact with anyone and is unable to form meaningful relationships.

When she sees her reflection in a building’s window, she is confronted with the image of a tired and spiritless woman who has failed to take control of her life. Shortly after, she has a chance encounter with a man named Mitsutsuka that awakens a new part of her.

As she begins to change, painful memories from her past begin to resurface and she is faced with breaking down the walls of the small world she has created.

Book club Notes 

I’ve had a soft spot for everything Japanese since discovering Shigeru Ban’s architectural masterpieces during my architecture studies. This leads me to always choosing books by Japanese authors as there is what I would describe as simple precision to their storytelling that I enjoy. When I saw Mieko Kawakami described as “Japan’s most exciting writer” and the synopsis of the book, I was sure I was in for a masterpiece.

This book is certainly thought provoking and well written, however it felt a bit “pointless” for lack of a better world. I failed to connect to the storyline or characters and overall, just did not enjoy it. 

Deception by Lesley Pearse

Reviewed by Zissy

Published by  Penguin Books

In a nutshell 

At the funeral of her mother, Alice is approached by a man who claims to be her father. He tells her he married her mother bigamously and that the father she thinks is her father is not. Shocked by these revelations, Alice goes on a mission to uncover her mother’s hidden past and secrets.

Book club Notes 

This is an easy book to read but to me was neither enjoyable nor terrible. Rather it fell somewhere in the middle. I found there was too much unnecessary detail – I don’t need to know that the person called “was not watching anything exciting and thus had time to chat”, to me that level of detail doesn’t add value. It was also predictable – not in the sense that I knew the ending but rather written in a way where you knew where each little part was going long before the story got there.  

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