Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp

A few years ago, I read a purely delightful book called The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. It floated about in the back of my mind from time to time after I had read it, until one day I decided that I really, really wanted to read it again. I almost never re-read books, but I loved it just as much the second time. Any possible consideration of reading it a third time was indefinitely put on hold when I discovered that the author, Eva Rice, has written a new book: The Misinterpretation Of Tara Jupp. I am not ashamed to tell you that I squealed when I found this out!


This is not a book that anyone would expect to win great literary prizes, it doesn't set out to teach you things about life or the world or human nature, and you won't swoon at any beautiful turns of phrase, but I loved pretty much every page. If I were to be picky I'd say Rice's first book has a slice more magic to it, but that could well be because it is set in the 1950s which I'm a bit of a sucker for. ... Tara Jupp is the kind of book I wish there was more of: intelligently written, interesting and non-formulaic yet easy reading and fun. It's a very difficult balance to strike so I am always pleased when I find a book that does the job. It's the perfect holiday read when you don't want your brain to turn to complete mush, and you want to read a plot line than is complex and unexpected while still being an utter confection of a book.

Read this: If you want to take a break from predictable chit lit where the characters' shoe brands are mentioned on every second page OR if you want to take a break from heavy-going mid twentieth century French philosophy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quite A Good Book

A Visit From The Goon Squad was a book I quite enjoyed reading, but I'm afraid I can't get excited about it. When something wins a prize it's difficult, if not impossible, not to place a heavy weight of expectation on what it will deliver. I suppose it is inevitable that sometimes that expectation leads to disappointment. A Visit From The Goon Squad won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2011, and the 2010 winner (Tinkers)was a book so shivery and delicate and poignant that I still sigh dreamily when I think about it. Another past Pulitzer winner, The Namesake, is one of my favourite books of all time so I was expecting nothing less than to be astounded by The Goon Squad. I was disappointed.

I liked the writing style, the characters, the observations, and most of all the twist that was the final chapter. I am glad that I read A Visit From The Goon Squad but if I am perfectly honest I was hoping for a transcendent reading experience and I got an enjoyable one instead.