Saturday, 15 August 2015

Short Reviews of Short Books

1) The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

I was recommended this book by a university professor for a project that I was writing, but I found myself unable to find it in my uni library, and I currently buy books only sporadically. However now I'm home my curiosity led me to order it to my local library.

This is a book about memory, and how we perceive events changes over time. I liked how short and succinct it was. It seems as if Barnes knew what he wanted to say about getting older, and the flexibility and sporadic nature of memory (especially when young and/or drunk). It was well written and wistful, and I feel like I could read it all over again and gain more from it. However I wasn't totally gripped by the thriller aspect or the actual plot itself. I didn't really click with the characters: they seemed almost otherworldly to me.

This is a Man Booker winner. I'm not sure I myself would crown it, but it would probably make my longlist.

3/5 stars.

2) Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

I saw many readalongs on BookTube, and some favourable, some okay reviews, so I though I would give this one a go. This is a novel that I really enjoyed but did not love. I thought Sagan skillfully presented her character, teenage girl Cecile, who gets involved in her father's love life after her mother dies. I see the comparisons to F Scott Fitzgerald in Sagan's heady description of a time period filled with parties, glamour and heavy drinking, all layered with a certain darkness and corruptness. The plot is quite unpredictable, the ending shocking. Overall this novel was a short and pacy read, nothing mind blowing, but still one that I would recommend.

4/5 stars.

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