About A Son by David Whitehouse recounts the aftermath of the murder of 20-year-old Morgan Hehir who was stabbed to death while he was on a night out in Nuneaton in Warwickshire on 31 October 2015. It’s a true crime book, but not written in the way that you might typically expect from the genre. Whitehouse has turned the Hehir family’s story into a really affecting piece of creative non-fiction. It is told in the second person from the perspective of Morgan’s father, Colin, based on his diaries and memories of the period following Morgan’s death. As well as processing grief and sitting through the trial of Morgan’s killers, the book also deals with the frustrating bureaucracy of the criminal justice system, and Colin’s attempts to persuade Apple to unlock Morgan’s phone so he could access his photos and music. ‘About A Son’ is a really exceptional portrait of an extraordinary event happening to the most ordinary of families, and it is very likely to appear on my Books of the Year list. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Ruth Ozeki
I really enjoyed Ruth Ozeki’s third novel A Tale for the Time Being which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and her debut My Year of Meats. Almost two years later, I finally got round to reading her second novel ‘All Over Creation’. Japanese-American Yumi Fuller (or Yummy as most of the characters call her) returns to Liberty Falls, Idaho for the first time since she ran away from home as a fourteen-year-old in 1974. Her elderly parents run a business selling seeds having retired from potato farming several years ago and a group of eco-activists who call themselves the Seeds of Revolution have descended on their home. Meanwhile, her former teacher Elliot Rhodes is now working as a public relations manager for a company producing genetically modified Nu-Life potatoes which the Fuller’s neighbours are using on their farm. Continue reading
I really enjoyed ‘A Tale for the Time Being‘ by Ruth Ozeki which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year. I was lucky enough to get my copy of her debut novel ‘My Year of Meats’ (or ‘My Year of Meat’ in some older editions) signed at the shortlist readings event at the Southbank Centre in October and this week, I finally got around to reading it. Originally published in 1998, it tells the story of Jane Takagi-Little, a Japanese-American journalist and documentary film-maker who is producing a series called ‘My American Wife’ for Japanese television. Sponsored by BEEF-EX to promote American beef in Japan, the aim of the programme is to promote a “wholesome” image of America. However, as Jane travels across the United States searching for suitable families to participate in the series, she becomes more alarmed by the methods of meat production and plans to expose them in the programme. Meanwhile, the story also follows Akiko, a Japanese housewife married to Jane’s abusive boss, and eventually their lives converge. Continue reading
Last night, I went to the Southbank Centre to listen to the shortlisted authors for this year’s Man Booker Prize give readings from their nominated novels. I really enjoyed a similar event for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in June so I bought a ticket for this one as soon as possible.
Shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki tells the story of a diary written a decade ago by a Japanese teenage girl called Nao which is washed up on an island off British Colombia in a Hello Kitty lunchbox after the tsunami in 2011. The diary is discovered by a novelist called Ruth who tries to find out what happened to Nao and her family, including her great-grandmother, Jiko, a Buddhist nun and her great-uncle, Haruki, a kamikaze pilot in the Second World War.
The longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2013 was announced today. 151 books were submitted for consideration and the final 13 are:Five Star Billionaire: Tash Aw We Need New Names: NoViolet Bulawayo The Luminaries: Eleanor Catton Harvest: Jim Crace The Marrying of Chani Kaufman: Eve Harris The Kills: Richard House The Lowland: Jhumpa Lahiri Unexploded: Alison MacLeod TransAtlantic: Colum McCann Almost English: Charlotte Mendelson A Tale for the Time Being: Ruth Ozeki The Spinning Heart: Donal Ryan The Testament of Mary: Colm Tóibín Continue reading