Friday, 12 February 2010

What I read this week

Primal – Robin Baker
First thing anyone needs to know about this book – it’s awash with naked bodies and sex. Look past that and the inevitable comparisons with Lost and you’re onto some gripping fiction. The story of students stranded on an island when a field trip goes wrong is essentially told by an author (the actual author appearing as himself!) writing a book about the events. What makes it interesting is the different voices that appear in the narrative based on where his information from. While wondering what will happen next as a reader you are also questioning how true any sequence of the events is. The main characters (including the author) all have their reasons for manipulating the truth. Unfortunately this means that focus is on just a handful of individuals and the rest of the characters are a little on the generic side. I found that as time went on I disliked most of the characters but wanted to know more about their experiences. The descriptions of life on the island and the break down of social mores were interesting but I think the author’s background in sexual biology coloured his perspective. This is definitely worth a look at and make sure you don’t have anything else on when you start reading – you won’t be able to put it down.

Lost – Chris Jordan
Nothing to do with the TV series. A fairly standard crime novel story about a kidnapping and Private Investigator/consultant. What really made this was the characters. The telling is intriguing. Most of it is in third person. Big chunks are told in first person by Jane, the mother of the kidnapped girl. I liked Jane. What makes this nvoel more intriguing is that pretty much everything we know about the consultant, ex- FBI Randall Shane we learn through Jane with occasional bits from the third person. This distance increases his mystery. Parts of his story are fascinating. Like his inability to sleep when stressed. Other bits, such as his back story and nearly retirement seem more usual. It looks like this one of a series of book featuring Shane Randall. I’m wondering f the same style of narrative is used. I can see it’s a great way of humanising characters who would only appear in that book while keeping our main man suitably interesting.

A dance in time – Orna Ross
I’m only about fifth of the way through this. There are several story lines. One is around Izzy and her daughter, Star. The reader is learning something of Izzy’s life story with commentary from Star. Then there is another strand around Maud Gonne. It took me a while to get into it despite the early introduction of tension and mystery (Was Izzy responsible for her father’s death?). I always see it as a good sign when I find I am thinking about a book while not reading it so I think I’ve been success drawn in. The writing is well crafted and there is a clear change in style between the two stories. No idea where the plot might be heading so that means that just like real life it’s not predictable either.

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