One of my summer reading picks was Devotion by Hannah Kent. Although I finished the book some time ago, I’ve struggled to pull together a review. That’s not because I didn’t enjoy it – quite the opposite, I adored this book – but because I think it is one of those books that is best enjoyed without too much preamble.
Although I avoided reading any reviews before I started it, I had picked up that there was a twist. Interestingly, when I was about half-way the book, I made a note in my diary that had I known the story-line – but not the author – I don’t think it would be a book I’d seek out.
This, I think, is one of the wonderful things about getting to know and trust an author; because when you have that trust in them, you allow them to take you places you might not otherwise go.
As I mentioned in the earlier post, Hannah’s research is meticulous, and blended with her poetic prose and sensitive portrayal of women, her books are equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking. This one was no exception – there was almost too much to take in as I raced through to uncover what was happening.
Another book on my summer list was The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki. I’ve read some of Ruth’s short stories (which I adored), but this is the first novel of hers that I’ve picked up.
For me, this is one of those books that demands you take you time with it. While there is a rhythm to the narration, it’s a rhythm that takes time to settle into as it switches between Benny, a young boy navigating the world after his father dies, and The Book, an omniscient narrator that tells Benny’s story. I’ll stick with it, as I think there is a lot to like about it, but I think it will be a slow burn.
In between times, I squeezed in The funny thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson. This is a charming read that will make you feel good about the world again. And I’m also mid-way through Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, a collection of short fiction.
Just to be clear, I don’t personally know any of these authors, nor do I have any affiliation with any of the sites linked above.