Friday, 24 May 2013

The Doctor's Wife

The Doctor’s Wife

By Brian Moore

Cape Publishing 1976

ISBN: 0 224 01322 X

Well, what a pickle this lady got into! A story of the older, married lady, emotionally abandoned by her husband, who finds love(?) in the arms of a younger man – or boy really.
This story or plot line has been told many times over the years, exploring the real cost of a five minute fling.  In this particular instance, it was over a fortnight, on holiday. I have to say, I began to feel very sorry for the main protagonist, Mrs. Redden. She was digger herself deeper and deeper in trouble, ably assisted by the young man, who seemed to be easing her into his manner of thinking throughout.
It is a very quick book to read in that it is quite a page turner. I found myself thinking for her, on her behalf.  I began to offer her advice. It reads as if you want to shout at her to point her away from what is the inevitable. She is quite a dunderhead for not seeing the most obvious problems with her urge to find emotional and sexual comfort. I must point out here that the part of the book that recounts the young man’s conquests are graphic, and leave nothing to the imagination. It is very explicit. However, once that section is finished with, it doesn’t return to it, and we concentrate on the after events and the conclusion. Bearing in mind this story is over 35 years old; I wonder if the author was stretching the literary boundaries of the day? It made me smile that whilst they couple were down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of the events, the author kept referring to her as Mrs. Redden, where she had been known previously, and subsequently as Sheila. Perhaps a relevant and subliminal point was being made there too.
Anyway, a story that begins at the end, with the following chapters that tell how we get to that conclusion, it is told  in a pithy way, with just the right amount of humour, loads of self pity and a awful lot of anger from Sheila. She is very believable as well; I imagine a difficult thing for a male author to do. But it is carried off well. It will be difficult for you to decide what will happen before you get there, and most of you who do read this book will feel sadness for her, (and him, perhaps), but how many of us will take it as a timely reminder of the results of neglecting your spouse, or the dangers of ‘playing away from home’?

BookerBookBloke Verdict 8/10 (except the naughty bit) 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Room - Emma Donoghue


By Emma Donoghue

Picador 2010

ISBN: 978 0 330 51901 4

In light of the events that are currently hitting the headlines from the United States, it seems prudent to bring this novel to everyone’s attention.
This story is told by Jack, five years old, and lives in Room. Of course the world of Jack is not a complete one; he believes that his room is the complete world and anything he sees on the T.V. is not real. His mother and he are, in fact, incarcerated by a kidnapper, with Jack being born in captivity. He knows no different lifestyle; the life he lives revolves around keeping quiet at difficult times, being scared, and being an ordinary boy who has just left behind the problems of being a toddler. This story recounts the life that he and his mother have and the changes that are all around them both following their freedom.  The different emotions can’t be more polarised, and excellently portrayed.

At the time, it seemed that is could be imagining the events surrounding Jaycee Lee Dugard, from California, who was reunited with her family a year before the publication of this book. She too had lived in a kidnap situation for eighteen years and had children at the hands of her captors. But, this book could equally be exploring the house and events so fresh in the news today.

The book is told in a factual, unsentimental fashion, without emotion from Jack, but please rest assured that the book is full of it from the author. It is a one sitting book, pull up your drawbridges, refuse to be disturbed and have lots of coffee and tissues at hand. Oh, and if you lend the book out afterwards, don’t expect to get it back; no doubt your friends will pass it on, deservedly so, as this book should be read by as many people as possible. What we all see in our daily lives that we think of as strange may well prove to be pivotal for somebody else. What is it that’s said about the random act of kindness from a stranger?

 Anyway, this is a great book in its own right, a worthy shortlisted book for the Booker Prize in 2010. It is a different type of read from those that would normally make this list, which makes it stand out on my shelf at home. As always, I am more than happy to discuss and reply to any comments you may have and I apologise for the literary quality of this blog, I feel the need to get this book into the public domain quickly is paramount, so...


BookerBookBloke verdict 8/10

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Utz By Bruce Chatwin

This blog is specifically for comment on the Man Booker Prize for fiction, based in the U.K. There are, at the moment, six shortlisted books each year, and as I read them, I will offer my review, without revealing the plot! I want to talk about the readability, style and the amount of quality reading to be enjoyed (or not!) I have no affiliation to anybody, so my comments are without outside influence. enjoy my thoughts, and please feel free to comment...


By Bruce Chatwin

Jonathon Cape, 1988

ISBN: 0 224 22608 9

I have been to a whole new country, in a distant time and read about at least two subject matters I knew nothing about. I was either going to love it or hate it; well, I loved it!
A short text, that got straight to the point, as long as you have your wits about you at the start. Set in Czechoslovakia, with a time that spans over many years (but specifically the early 1970’s) we are led through an almost personal tour of Meissen porcelain figures, and their owner, Utz. Or have we? What, exactly, do we get?
We get a brief overview of the politics of the country, with an equally brief look at the history, along with the sinister world of the contemporary country lifestyle; the restaurant menu, the clientele and the decor gives a vivid view of the day to day life of Utz. Or is it?
So, what about Utz? We are introduced to him, and then led to believe, via the title of the work, that he would be the main protagonist. And so he is, isn’t he?
The porcelain figures are the next items of enigmas. They are the main reason for the story if you discount Utz himself. We are introduced to them, given the point of having them in the plot, and then, they determinedly float around the text along with all the other strands that serve to make this text what it is. It drifts along in a floating way as if it is daring you to grab the story and make a rigid plot out of it. As each page turns, you just know that it will all pull together to make something tangible, then you will realise it already is. So, why doesn’t it seem like it is a solid read? Because it is writing at its most skilful – not a word is wasted, there isn’t a word in there that doesn’t count, and the whole text, as short as it is, is the right length to keep the book floating exactly where it should be.
Be ready to be introduced to nondescript characters, ordinary situations in a less than exotic setting and then be prepared to leave behind a completely different setting, situation and character. The work of this international travel writer is as good as it gets. Please don’t look for a goodie or a baddie; a crime or a whodunit, those things are not what this book is about. This is about the obsessive behaviour of people that collect things and why they would want t do that. Why do people want to collect things? You could, I suppose, ask me, as I collect these shortlisted books. Perhaps, after all, I do know what the book is about, I hope you get it too!

I have opened a new blog, reviewing good books that deserve maximum exposure for being good! Have a look at Thank you for looking, and happy reading...