Those I’ve read…
Review: There are a number of books about writing and art on this year’s shortlist, and this is one of them. I really enjoyed this, and thought the way Cusk barely revealed anything about her protagonist was interesting. What I loved most is that this is a book about the stories everyone has inside them, and a book about perspective, memory, and also longing.
10:04 by Ben Lerner
Review: Another of the books about writing. I’m not entirely sure what I thought – at first I wasn’t really into the book, but that changed as I read further, and the protagonist was nowhere near as annoying as I thought he would be. I suspect this is the kind of book you get more out of the more you read it. I’ve only read it once, so I can’t say much more than I had a decent time, fun in parts, and I wouldn’t not read it again.
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
One-line summary: A love story, a story of a marriage falling apart, and a story of a relationship being rebuilt in a new way.
Review: Dept. of Speculation might be prose fiction, but it has the rhythms of poetry at times. And it might be short, but somehow Cusk manages to convey the building of lives and loves and relationships within its compact pages. I loved it.
One-line summary: Eight-year-old Ajay moves from India to America with his parents and older brother Birju in the late 1970s, but the biggest change is not cultural, it’s when Birju is badly injured in an accident, and the family must learn to cope with a life they never expected.
Review: Oh, this book hurts. It’s sad, and funny, and sweet, and nasty. It’s blisteringly honest, and filled with love in all its uplifting, damaging forms, and beautifully written, and it made my heart ache and my eyes fill with tears.