I borrowed Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett from the library because I really enjoyed reading The Bus on Thursday last year. Barrett’s debut novel was longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2016. Set in the early 20th century in the port town of Eden in New South Wales, ‘Rush Oh!’ is loosely based on the life of George Davidson, one of Australia’s most prominent master whalers at the time. During the 1908 season, his fictional teenage daughter, Mary, is tasked with supporting her father’s whaling crew and caring for her five siblings after their mother’s death, and the arrival of the mysterious former Methodist preacher, John Beck, proves to be a welcome distraction for her.
In ‘Rush Oh!’, Barrett strikes a good balance between the well-researched and brutal descriptions of whale hunting and the more gentle strands of Davidson family drama. Mary is a brilliantly imagined narrator, looking back on the events of her youth with amusingly chatty asides to the reader. In terms of genre, Barrett’s two novels to date couldn’t be more different, but they share a brilliant sense of humour and I look forward to reading more by Barrett in the future. Continue reading
It’s been almost three years since Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith was published and it has been a very long wait to find out what happens following the cliffhanger ending of ex-military policeman and private detective Cormoran Strike’s late arrival at the wedding of his agency partner Robin Ellacott and her insufferable fiancé Matthew Cunliffe. The prologue of the fourth book in the series published last month, ‘Lethal White’, picks up exactly where ‘Career of Evil’ left off and the story then jumps forward a year later to the summer of 2012 when London is hosting the Olympic Games. A mentally distressed young man named Billy Knight arrives at Strike’s office and then flees again shortly after claiming to have witnessed the murder of a child many years ago. Strike is subsequently approached by Jasper Chiswell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who has been receiving blackmail threats from Geraint Winn, husband of the Minister for Sport Della Winn, and Billy’s older brother, Jimmy Knight. Continue reading
There are many reasons why authors may choose to publish their work anonymously or pseudonymously. Historically, this has primarily been due to the threat of persecution or prosecution if the material produced was controversial and/or illegal. More recently, however, it has often stemmed from the author’s desire to simply let the words speak for themselves. Continue reading
This week, I was lucky enough to get a place at a special launch event for ‘Career of Evil’, the third book in the crime fiction series by J. K. Rowling written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I really enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm and was very keen to read the latest instalment of Cormoran Strike’s adventures.
To celebrate the launch, the publishers of ‘Career of Evil’ teamed up with Time Run to organise a special crime thriller version of a live gaming experience where teams need to solve clues and puzzles to “escape” the room as quickly as possible. Based in Hackney, it’s been described by the Metro as “immersive theatre meets Crystal Maze but better”. This definitely wasn’t going to be a typical book launch… Continue reading
2014 was a fantastic year for new books by some of my favourite authors including ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage‘ by Haruki Murakami, ‘The Paying Guests‘ by Sarah Waters, ‘Us‘ by David Nicholls and ‘The Book of Strange New Things‘ by Michel Faber. 2015 is also shaping up to be a bumper year for long-awaited new novels from both established authors and debut novelists alike. Here are the ones to watch in 2015:
This week, analysis of 40,000 active Goodreads users (20,000 men and 20,000 women) revealed that readers prefer books by authors of the same gender. The results found that women rate books written by female authors more highly than those written by men and 90% of the 50 most read books by men were written by men.
‘The Silkworm’ is the second novel by Robert Galbraith featuring ex-military policeman turned private detective Cormoran Strike. In his latest case, Strike is hired by the wife of Owen Quine, a little-known author who has gone off by himself for a few days and is expected to return home once he has been found. However, Quine had recently completed a new novel entitled ‘Bombyx Mori’ featuring grotesque pen-portraits thinly disguised as various people he knows. The unpublished manuscript has already been circulating the literary world and having made a considerable number of enemies, Quine is later discovered brutally murdered. Continue reading
One of of my reading resolutions this year has been to get through more of the books I already have on my shelves and Kindle. I have been making some slow and steady progress recently but, as always, I still have my eye on the latest books. Here are a few I am particularly looking forward to which have not yet been published:
Whether or not it was her way of sticking two fingers up at her critics, I think it was pretty clever of J. K. Rowling to publish ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith after receiving mixed reviews for ‘The Casual Vacancy’ last year. Interestingly, the feedback for ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ was unanimously positive from both critics and readers before the identity of the real author was revealed. But does it live up to the hype? Continue reading
Today, I woke up to the news that J. K Rowling has published a crime novel called ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the name Robert Galbraith. Published about three months ago, the book has so far sold about 1,500 copies in hardback and tells the story of a war veteran turned private investigator. The publisher’s website confirmed that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym but the true identity of the author has only just been revealed today. Continue reading