Review: We Need to Talk about Kevin, Lionel Shriver

It's hard to write a review for a book that could easily support a thesis.

This novel is a rare example of both form and content being raised to the highest level, as well as a conclusion that is inevitable but shocking. It's extraordinary in its ability to trigger both revulsion and sympathy, and leave you feeling for the characters long after the pages have turned.

I gave this novel 5* on Goodreads, where you can follow my reviews or author page

Review: The Mothers, Brit Bennett

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unriped secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

Affecting novel about the choices we make in our youth that stay with us for a life time. Nadia Turner is a young woman, grieving for her mother, while growing up in a tightly-knit, conservative town dominated by a church community. Its judgmental voice is brilliantly rendered by The Mothers – a collective group of elders who cannot respect the freedom and individuality Nadia seeks and the steps she takes to achieve her goal. But this novel is never simplistic; we also witness their wisdom and the warmth that Nadia seeks within their fold. Packed with deep themes and pertinent observations, the prose offers moments of great beauty.

Review: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Balli Kaur Jaswal

In this brilliantly-observed novel, the main character reminds me very much of her home city of London; Nikki embodies its complex blend of cultures, its tradition and modernity, conformity and subversion, warmth and conflict.

When Nikki volunteers to run a writing class at a local gurdwara, she becomes our guide to Southall, where we meet a group of barely-literate women who quickly reveal a shared passion and talent for story-telling. Their tales are both erotic and risky, given the social tensions at play within their Sikh Punjabi community.

The novel is packed full of lifelike characters who are drawn with warm-hearted (and sometimes wicked) wit. By turns touching and saucy, with a suspense to raise the stakes, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is a layered and satisfying read.

But I may never feel the same way about ghee.


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