Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler / Moon In A Dead Eye by Pascal Garnier / Crimson Midnight by Amos Cassidy

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

I received a copy of A Spool Of Blue Thread from its publishers, Random House, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

A Spool Of Blue Thread has been much hyped recently as a result of its shortlisting for the Booker prize this year. It is very typical Anne Tyler fare - family centred, in Baltimore, strong on characterisation, buried secrets - but there is little in the way of overarching narrative to hold it all together. Instead this is a meandering work that wanders off to different people and eras, always returning to the main thread but without any sense of a plan. It's more of a Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant and certainly not a Ladder Of Years.

Perhaps I am being harsh? A Spool Of Blue Thread isn't a bad book, but I did often find it rather dull and had expected more from Tyler. There are interesting interludes and the discovery of the Linnie Mae and Junior relationship especially is cleverly done. If you enjoy big family sagas where everything gets resolved around the dining table then you might enjoy the book more than I did. I just thought it all felt too formulaic.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Anne Tyler / Women's fiction / Books from America


Moon in a Dead Eye by Pascal Garnier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

I received a copy of Moon In A Dead Eye from its publishers, Gallic Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

My first Pascal Garnier novel, The Panda Theory, was absolutely brilliant and I hoped for a similarly wonderful read again. Moon In A Dead Eye starts out well. Retired couple Martial and Odette have given up their suburban Parisian home for a newly-built house in a retirement complex in the sunny south of France. They are looking forward to making new friends through the promised social activities and lazing by the pool. Except the pool hasn't been filled yet, no one else has arrived and the rain is constant. Garnier sets up this scenario perfectly and his practically empty complex reminded me of the estate of unsold houses in The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.

Eventually more people do move in - another couple and a single woman. Garnier understands his characters well and I enjoyed reading their interactions. Social club organiser Nadine is fun and there is definitely something a bit weird about the caretaker! For me, Moon In A Dead Eye was great up until this point. Then, when gypsies parking up nearby causes increased worry and paranoia amongst the residents, I thought that too many events happened too swiftly with the result being unbelievable and farcical. Perhaps a slower reveal in a longer book would be more convincing, or a stage adaptation as a real farce, but within the confines of this novella I thought it all too over the top.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Pascal Garnier / Crime fiction / Books from France


Crimson Midnight by Amos Cassidy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk

I received a copy of Crimson Midnight when it was offered as a promotional giveaway at the All Hallows Reads Facebook party for Halloween.

Crimson Midnight is a joint venture between two writers, but I wouldn't have been able to tell if I didn't know as the flow of writing is seamless. I enjoyed the pace of the novel with a good balance being struck between detailed description and action. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, but I liked that time was spent making each one an individual. That effort certainly pays off as the storylines come together, especially for a fantasy novice like me who isn't used to telling her werewolves from her vampires! Our heroine, Rose, is great fun and just the feisty, sassy woman I think I would like to have been at that age. Perhaps Flo's accent does grate from being a little overdone, but the London setting overall is nicely integrated.

So why only three stars? The ending! Regular readers will already know how much I loathe sudden stops in lieu of proper endings so I won't launch into another rant here, but Crimson Midnight has one of the most abrupt and ill-timed that I've yet read. I am undecided yet whether to risk any more of the series.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Amos Cassidy / Fantasy fiction / Books from England

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to increased spam, I've turned on comment moderation for the time being. Genuine comments will appear after I've checked them!