My very first Chris Bohjalian novel….I’ve been told time and time again in the past that I should be reading this author….but like so many, I just have an abundance of really good books on my TBR list and not nearly enough time….In this case, a review copy dropped into my lap at just the right time and I dove right in. I am so glad I did! I can’t wait to read my by Mr Bohjalian!
There are lots of characters I feel that a reader can sympathize with….and because of that, I think this would be a really great book club read…and that is something I NEVER say! I don’t really do book club reads…hahahaha…but regardless of that, I still think this will be a brilliant book club read! It would be interesting to see whom people aligned their loyalties to…the husband, the wife, the young *strippers*, the daughter? All of them? None?
I for one love realist endings over HEA endings….so I wasn’t that bothered by this ending…but it will be interesting to see what others think….
This book makes it clear that life can change in an instant…..we all know it…..but we often forget it….we like to think that nothing like this could happen to us….we like to call this “escapism”….we tell ourselves that it makes for an interesting read and a distraction from real life….that we would never find ourselves in this type of situation….Bohjalian really makes me question that….this book starts out with just a few simple choices….not even choices…it’s more like being in the wrong place at the wrong time….when it comes down to it, the fact is, not many people who find themselves in a bad situation have actually meant to be in that position….yes, there are some things that you would change with hindsight…but that’s the pesky thing…hindsight only comes about AFTER the fact…..
There are lots of things and moral situations to ponder in this story….you’re sure to find yourself trying to put yourself into other’s shoes here and wonder what you might have done differently….
Highly recommend this one….no matter if you’re a long time fan of Chris Bohjalian or a new fan like myself…
Until next time…
ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review
Buy it now The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
Have you ever read a book by an author that you adore, and still end up surprised by the direction in which the novel is taken? Well, that recently happened to me with Ian McEwan. Now, I’m not sure one can really stick McEwan into one genre, or style of writing, but he manages to surprise me with every book he writes, and Sweet Tooth, is no exception.
Set in 1970’s England, the novel follows serena, an avid reader that ended up graduating from Cambridge with a degree in mathematics. After graduation, she applies to MI5 (British security services) and is given a low level desk job. After some time, Serena is approached to join a unit in which the government pays authors, artists, journalists etc…, to produce work that is more aligned with the official views and status quo of the government. Serena is tasked with handling Thomas Haley, a new and upcoming author that the government believes could be a liability. However, as Serena begins to develop feelings for Thomas, will everything work out as planned?
Fear not, dear readers, I have not given away any spoilers! An author of lesser caliber would have been content with writing in the constraints of this simple plot, but not McEwan. Oh no. McEwan is known for character development, and you get 150 pages of that before you even begin to see a peek of the main plot. It may seem unnecessary, but it actually works in this particular instance. Everything builds upon itself, and you will find yourself going “Ahh, so that’s why so and so did or said that”.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am indeed a McEwan fan-boy, however, I believe that actually helps because it allows me to really pick out any negative points, and there are some – only a few very minor points – but nonetheless, they exist. When Serena is vetting Thomas, we read his short fiction along with her, and at times, it did get a little tedious. Necessary, but tedious. There were also one or two minor plot points that could have done with fleshing out, but that’s just me being picky.
If you have read anything of McEwan’s before, then I highly recommend that you pick up his latest novel. If you have not read any of McEwan’s work before, then this is just a good of a place to start as any. Just remember to be patient. McEwan is like water: It will flow in all different directions, but eventually end up where it is supposed to. Enjoy the ride! Sweet Tooth: A Novel