Archive for March, 2017

Articles

a dash of frightening, a dollop of blood-curdling and a spritz of spine-chilling.

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction,NZ lit reviews on March 25, 2017 by mrsdilemma

“A blind teenager receives a corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories from their previous owner, a homicide detective, his father.  As Joshua navigates a world of sight he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. What was his dad up to?”

Paul Cleave is an author with the ability to write a thriller where the characters are totally and utterly believable – Joshua reminds me so much of a kid who lives at the end of my street, his writing is outstanding, its riveting, dark, intense and deliciously twisted. Cleave writes of hidden secrets in everyday scenarios and unspeakable horrors just next door – this is his 11th thriller/horror and if you haven’t read him before, catch up on his entire back catalogue.

Ok, confession time. A Killer Harvest isn’t due for publication until August 1st, 2017 – I live in Christchurch, New Zealand where Paul is from, I hosted his very first book launch & I know his dad – he’s where I borrowed a copy of A Killer Harvest. I am one very lucky broad, but I am genuinely addicted to his work and have gone out and bought a copy of each and every one of his books.

Articles

Another tale of woe about a girl. . .

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction on March 18, 2017 by mrsdilemma

“Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on the condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be are-run of the girl before.”

I devoured this book at every opportunity over very few days, it was a narrative I was constantly post it noting – tabbing subjects to follow up later; Christopher Wren’s St Stephens in Walbrook, John Sloane’s house in Lincoln Inn Fields, Phillippe Stark’s Ghost Chair. . . .

The narrative really pushes the boundaries of plausibility, it is a well written ( although not quite to the level of the best sellers within its genre; Gillian Flynn or Harlan Coben ) and compelling read. It will demand you finish it but it will not make you care one way or another about any of the characters within its pages.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative but the character development was sorely underwhelming. Written under a pseudonym in an attempt to disguise that the author is male writing with a female voice – one I don’t think he does a particularly good job of.

On the positive side the story is intriguing, the alternating narrators are an easy read but the suspense that is created is fairly transparent, there are too many simplistic red herrings for me.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this narrative, for me, was One Folgate Street itself. An ultra modern property that comes with about 200 stipulations within the rental agreement – compliance to the agreement is monitored by sensors, cameras, a cleaner and regular inspections. . . For as stylish and technologically sophisticated as all the tech is, it’s also fairly scary. Tales of woe like Orwell’s 1984 or Dave Eggers’ The Circle have taught that technology can be scary – It can be used against us. The Girl Before provides yet another cautionary tale about the technology that will make our lives easier.

Articles

Sex Object: A ( ball bustingly honest ) Memoir

In Biography,Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Feminism on March 11, 2017 by mrsdilemma

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

 

Jessica Valenti is one of a select group of Generation X feminist bloggers who have cemented their careers online – She is a force to be reckoned with, after publishing a litany of feminist tomes ( Full Frontal Feminist, He’s a stud she’s a slut ) Sex Object is her brutally honest, darkly funny memoir.

By retelling a series of formative events in her life, Valenti describes what toll everyday sexism takes on a young woman’s life. The events that helped shape her confident persona hid her damaged and insecure self, everyday sexism that was brushed off as a compliment or just boorish behavior became so destructive that Valenti struggled to maintain that confident identity.

Sex Object is a series of confronting episodes which made me look at the decisions in my own adolescence and the everyday sexism that surrounds me. Even in a small country on the other side of the world the situations Valenti finds herself in are not completely foreign to me – Her lessons about self translate into a memoir about society. The Change that we need to see in the world will begin to happen when more women speak out like Jessica Valenti has – and, more importantly, we believe them.

Valenti ends her memoir with an afterword that rapidly brings us down to earth – a series of emails and posts from her twitter and facebook feeds, tantamount to hate mail.

This is a book that has been heavily reviewed by the male patriarchy ( I really wanted to use another phrase here but that is the only one that truly represented what rubbish these men regurgitate. . . ) and to them it is a whinging, whining, #notallmen attack on the male species, I believe it is Valenti being true to herself, at times she makes poor choices but she owns them and doesn’t shift blame, she can appear frustrated but then who wouldn’t be in her situation. . . Its a book all Women should read and embrace.

Articles

The Circle – delving into a not-so-much-dystopian future?

In Book Reviews,CannonballreadIX 2017,Fiction on March 4, 2017 by mrsdilemma

The Circle by Dave Eggers

This one is tricky, I’ve actually read the first six chapters three times and the book in its entirety twice – the first time I tried; I just couldn’t connect, the second; I devoured the text so fast I felt like I missed something and the third time I found myself coming up with alternative theories and twisted plot lines.

Eggers protagonist is Mae, a young woman who lands a job at The Circle, one of the world’s most influential internet companies – think Google, Apple and Facebook all rolled into one creepy and all-powerful package. Mae quickly rises through the ranks and that is where it all starts to go horribly wrong.

On my first reading Mae comes across as exceptionally naive, a very shallow character, outstandingly one dimensional and unrealistic, almost plastic. Mae appears to have one desire in life – she wants to be liked, both in person and online, she craves that acceptance. On a second reading I think that this construct may have been intentional, I suggest that Eggers is portraying Mae as a conscious comment on the facebook generation, the story is littered with crumbs that I didn’t pick up on in my first reading, and so not to spoil anything I will just suggest that names matter a great deal to Eggers.

Eggers writing is so fluent, so crisp and so on point – he creates a world that has not yet tipped into the dystopian future of A Handmaids tale or 1984 but a world that is on a knifes edge – sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it?

Postscript: A movie adaptation starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton with Eggers co-writing the screenplay is due for release on April 28 this year. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/