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Booker Longlist – Trust by Hernan Diaz

Book 11 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Nicole, Tracy, Lisa and Jen

Hernan Diaz A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Hernan Diaz is the author of two novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: 

A literary puzzle about money, power, and intimacy, Trust challenges the myths shrouding wealth, and the fictions that often pass for history.

He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top – but at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the centre of Bonds, a successful 1938 novel that all New York seems to have read. But there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.

Trust elegantly draws these competing narratives into conversation with each other – and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a provocative and propulsive novel that spans an entire century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.

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1001 Books Round-Up August 2022

This months winners and losers

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Booker Longlist 2022: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka – reviewed by Tracy, Book Worm, Nicole, and Jen.

From the Booker Website: Shehan Karunatilaka’s rip-roaring epic is a searing, mordantly funny satire set amid the murderous mayhem of a Sri Lanka beset by civil war.

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet queen, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long.

But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.

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Booker Longlist 2022: Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

Treacle Walker by  Alan Garner – reviewed by Tracy, Jen, Lisa, Book worm.

From the Booker Website: This latest fiction from a remarkable and enduring talent brilliantly illuminates an introspective young mind trying to make sense of the world around him.

Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds’ eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the moor one day – a wanderer, a healer – an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined.

In this playful, moving and evocative fable, set once again in his beloved Cheshire, the masterly Alan Garner delivers both a stunning fusion of myth and folklore and a profound exploration of the fluidity of time.

Tracy’s Thoughts: So far, this is my favorite of the list.

It’s short, but there is so much packed in this little book. The genius that I see is that Garner has written something that can be interpreted in so many ways, and each reader will see it differently, every time they read it. I found different ways to interpret this just over the course of reading it.

And this book does beg for rereading. Either for enjoyment or with a dictionary for the whimsical words and phrases.

For me, this is nearly a perfect book: it makes me think, it has whimsical characters, a plot that meanders, but does progress, clever language, and a touch of the fantastical.

I’ve seen that Garner has hinted that this is his swan song, and what a sendoff!

I’ll be very sad if this isn’t shortlisted.

Writing quality: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Character development: 4/4
Plot: 4/4
Enjoyment: 2/2
Total: 20/20

Book Worms Thoughts: I hate to say it but I must be missing something I honestly can’t see why this has made the longlist. There are things I did enjoy like the playful use of words and phrases but…it went nowhere and I didn’t connect with the characters.

I get the impression that if you are not familiar with at least some of the folklore or pop culture mentioned then you would be totally lost.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Character development: 2/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 11/20

Lisa’s thoughts: Like Book Worm, I just did not get this book. I could see how he is a beautiful writer, but without having read any of his previous books, and without any knowledge of the culture in which this book is grounded, I found this novel to be just a collection of vignettes that never coalesced into something I could understand. And not a female character in sight.

Writing quality: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 1/4
Plot development:1 /4
Overall enjoyment: 0/2
Total: 10/20

Jen’s Thoughts: I hated this book. I like odd books but this was beyond my comprehension and I literally had to read the Guardian review to understand what I had read. The Guardian reviewer wrote “this is a book about quantum physics as well as ancient lore.” The word play was entertaining at times but I consider myself a generally smart, well read, person and I struggled getting any meaning out of the book. It had the feel of a children’s book but with the symbolism and meaning that requires a literary degree to understand. I’m sure the book is brilliant and will make the longlist, but it made me feel like a fool.

Writing quality: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Character development: 1/4
Plot development: 1/4
Overall enjoyment: 0/2
Total: 11/20

Our panel’s current rankings:

  1. The Colony 18.8
  2. Maps of our Spectacular Bodies – 18.1
  3. The Trees 16.4
  4. Oh William 15.6
  5. Small Things Like These 15.3
  6. Case Study 15
  7. Booth 13.7
  8. The Treacle Walker: 13
  9. Night crawling 11.08

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Should it make the shortlist?

Booker Longlist: Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

Book 8 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Jen, Nicole, & Tracy

Maddie Mortimer was born in London in 1996 to a family of writers: both her mother and her maternal grandfather were also authors.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

Under attack from within, Lia tries to keep the landscapes of her past, her present and her body separate. But time and bodies are porous, and unpredictable.

Something gleeful and malign is moving in Lia’s body. It shape-shifts down the banks of her canals, leaks through her tissue, nooks and nodes. It taps her trachea like the bones of a xylophone. It’s spreading.

Lia’s story is told, in part, by the very thing that’s killing her; a malevolent voice that wanders her systems, learning her from the inside-out. The novel moves between her past and her present as we come to understand the people that have shaped her life.

In turn, each of these take up their place in the battle raging within Lia’s body, at the centre of which dances the murderous narrator and a boy nicknamed ‘Red’ – the toxic chemo that is Lia’s last hope.

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Read Around the World August 2022: Italy


Map Link

What better way to spend August than it beautiful Italy? 

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Booker Longlist 2022: Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet – reviewed by BookWorm, Lisa, Jen, and Susie

From the Booker Website: Graeme Macrae Burnet offers a dazzlingly inventive – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself.

‘I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.’

London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character…

So what did our panel think of this book? Keep reading to find out.

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Booker Longlist: Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

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Booker Longlist: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Book 6 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Nicole, Tracy, Lisa, and Susie.

Leila Mottley was born in 2003 in Oakland, California, where she still lives and works.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

At once agonising and mesmerising, Nightcrawling presents a haunting vision of marginalised young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world.

‘When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk.’

Determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her, a 17-year-old girl finds herself walking the mean streets of Oakland after dark. When she is picked up by the police, the gruesome deal they offer in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm – and facing a terrible choice.

If she agrees to testify, she could help expose the corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.

This book has been getting glowing reviews but what did our panel think? Keep reading to find out.

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The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid


The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
UK Publication: August 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Penguin General UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Is the world ever truly black or white…

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