Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Draughtsman - Robert Lautner

 Set in Germany towards the end of WW2, this extraordinary tale explores that old adage about what happens when mankind sees something but does nothing. Ernst is married to a beautiful wife, his soulmate. They live hand to mouth in a couple of small rooms, paying too much rent, she working in a bar/cafe a couple of nights a week, and he having not worked at all since university. But he is a trained draughtsman, and there is a large engineering firm in town. After an interview, he is surprised and pleased to be offered a job, redrawing engineering plans so that a layman will understand them. His job is in the Special Ovens Department, under the management of Hans Klein, a showy kind of guy, fast car, nice clothes etc. It is he who arranges for Ernst and Etta to move out of their crummy accommodation and into a new house, with several rooms, and for the installation of a telephone.








It is not long before Ernst realises what it is he is working on, but as is so often the case, he decides that "I am just doing my job". His wife is not so sure, and when his childhood friend Paul, who has made a substantial living out of running his own crematorium talks to him about that job, he is still dismissive. At first, I questioned why he would continue at his job, but realization dawned as I realised that no job meant no home, no food, and nothing at all to look forward to - for when would the war end? At least the town Ernst and Etta live in is away from the fighting and bombing, food is readily available, and they are near the wonderful Beech Tree Forest..... Buchenwald.

Written in the first person, we see Ernst's views remain the same for a very long time - just doing his job - but somehow, somehow, his mind begins to change. But will it change enough?

The research for this novel is impeccable. It is fiction, but so much of it actually happened. Lautner says in his afterward (which simply must be read) that he wrote the book because he wanted to ask the question "What would you do?" And for Ernst, that is the question. After all, he was only doing his job.

*Robert Lautner's first book was The Road to Reckoning.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sweet Thursday - John Steinbeck

Last year (Wednesday 10 August 2016, so that you can find it on my date index if you want to read it), I spoke about John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, an American classic and a book new to me. Oh! I loved it all - the prose, the larger than life characters, and Steinbeck's style.

And now I can tell you about it's companion volume, Sweet Thursday.  Another short novel, this is set just after the end of  WW2.  The Canneries are closed, fish stock depleted totally, but down on the row life goes on.  Doc is back from his war, feeling a little different about life now and faced with a big clear up job in  his laboratory - the pal he left in charge having scooted.  The Bear Flag brothel has a new madam;  Lee Chong's grocery shop is now under the ownership of a Mexican, Chong having sailed off into the sunset on his boat purchased with the sale proceeds of the shop and any other holdings.  And Mack?  Mack is still there, resident in charge at the Palace Flophouse along with all the other down-and outs.

Mack who still wants to help Doc even though every time he tries to do so things go horribly wrong and Fauna, the Bear Flag madam,  comes up with a plan for Doc.  He's lonely but  won't admit it.  Suzy, a new recruit to the brothel is not really much good at whoring, and in Fauna's view, is prime material for a wife for Doc.  What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Just before Spring at Pine Tree Cottage



daffodil 'TĂȘ

Anything popping up in your garden yet?  Some years ago I took the decision to plant only miniature daffodils (there were no daffs, big or small at that time).  They are small, and they don't multiply fast, but this year is definitely the best, and they are giving me a good show.   Most of them are the common "tete a tete" which I believe are raised in their thousands because they are really hardy and easy care which is why supermarkets sell so many of them!  No matter, I love the little yellow fellas.


Mini Daffodil Bulbs - Minnow
 However, what they are also telling me is that I have not yet planted enough yet!  So whilst in another town  at the weekend, I found just two trays of a new-to-this garden shown left - "minnow"- so they have to go in, together with the the pot of "tete a tete" which were on our table Christmas day and so of course quickly over.  I think the "minnow" may be a bit taller than "tete a tete", so will put them in further back in the borders.

 Also, I see that my Ceanothus (Californian lilac) is full of buds this year, so both of this and the daffs  are obviously happy about last year's weather whatever it was. It's up at around 7 feet this year with a wide spread, and the picture below is from the Internet, not my garden, because although the buds are set, it will be around 3 weeks before they are out and look like this.  They have a short life, so I don't know how many more years I will have this one, so I'm going to love it every year it blooms for me.
   
Image result for californian lilac
 Tulips are up now, showing their green.  I am always surprised to see the leaves because in my last garden I could never get tulips to do anything at all, and when I moved to this garden several existing bulbs shot up in the spring and have continued to perform for the last 14 years.  After about three years of re-appearance, I realised that the conditions were good for them here, and so I bunged a few in - they performed - then the next year a few more - ditto.  So every year, just a few more to give me joy.  Then last week at a farm shop and cafe for a cup of tea, I saw that there were pots of tulips for sale, very overcrowded, but healthy and one flower which gave me the key - a sort of dark peach.  They appear to me miniatures too - but of course that might be the overcrowding, so they are going in shortly and I'll have to wait till next year to see how tall they grow!

And then for flowering later this year, some plants arrived by post.  When I read the label of this one, I laughed, for whoever considered growing Greater Sea Kale in a border?  Me!  And this is why - from nothing at all (dies right back) you get a spread of up to 5 feet of white froth beloved by bees - who could resist?   Again, this is not mine but a picture from the Internet.  But I can hope, can't I?

Image result for greater sea kale

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Come and say hello!

I am as guilty of being a stalker as most blog followers - I mean, how many times do you open a blog, read the contents and then skip on to the next?  I know!  Me too!  Every now and then I am moved to make a comment - but not every day.

When I first started blogging I had a few followers and when my "looks" passed 3,000 I got really excited!  Now I am getting loads of lookers, and my review posts often get 100/200  looks within a month of posting.  But of course, I have no idea if those readers are actually tuning in to me, or whether my blog comes up  on a Google search when someone is seeking mention of  the book I reviewed.  So help me out guys......

Scroll to the bottom of this post and you will see a tiny grey numeral and the word comment - mostly this says "1 comment" and if you click on it you will see that the 1 comment is actually me.  Just type in the reply box, I'd be glad to have any comments about anything I post - although if you're looking for love (as in a comment I did get a little while ago), move on, this is not the blog you're looking for.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Friday, 3 March 2017

Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry

This is a companion volume to The Giver - and there are two more, making a quartet.  But don't think that this follows the story of The Giver on, because is does not.  It isn't meant to.  It is another tale of the future, but a different future.  Perhaps it is a future alongside that of The Giver but in another part of the world, perhaps it is later than the time when The Giver is set....... but importantly, it informs us that power of the few is everything unless we fight it.  

Kira is a girl with a damaged leg.  Right at the beginning we are aware that her mother is dead, and that she is not wanted in her own village by some of it's inhabitants.  She is grieving for her Mother, her Father is long dead, and she will be unable to earn enough credit for food in the weaving shop where she clears the floor of cloth scraps every day.   We see that two things are important, and both things are introduced to the reader in quick succession - she has a friend, a scruffy and dirty little orphan boy called Matt; when having a friend is important, and she meets an elder at a village meeting where she has been accused of being a drain on the village, and eating too much.  The elder offers her hope and a home, for he knows she can sew and embroider and there is an important item of clothing to be repaired and completed.  So she moves into what we would describe as luxurious quarters after the dirt and filth of the mud and wattle huts the villagers live in.  
In those new surroundings, she meets Tom, a boy who is doing a similar job to her, but in wood. He is also an orphan and he is to repair, recarve and complete an historic staff, a staff on which the people's history is recorded.  They have rooms alongside each other, they eat their meals together, and they talk together after their workload is finished for the day.  There is a mystery..... sometimes, in the night, Kira hears a small child crying.  
I do like Lois Lowry's style - a great childrens' and YA author.  This one could be read by good readers of say 9-10 upwards. I am much older than that, and I enjoyed the journey immensely - a real page turner this one, as we hold our breaths and hope that everything turns out alright.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Mrs Mac suggests..... What to read in March

March being a longer month than February, perhaps a fat read is in order?  Fantasy?  Perhaps you don't like it, although you may have read all the Harry Potters. Yes, for March, I am suggesting: 

A book with a fictional animal



Because in case you hadn't heard (where have you been?!) we are expecting more from Phillip Pulman (author of His Dark Materials).  Those three books had wonderful fictional animals within, and it just may be worth looking into these if you have never tried them.  Myself? I loved the whole concept of those three books and I am going to re-read them to get myself ready for the first of the new ones!

Good reading, and don't forget - Spring is on the way   




Sunday, 19 February 2017

The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

Enchanting!  That's how I must describe this tiny little gem.  Sandra Cisneros is a Latino/Hispanic? American.  This is not an ethnic group in the UK like it is in the USA, but I find an empathy whenever I come across a writer from this group - even though my own ethnic background is certainly chilly Northern European.  This is a very short book.  Only 110 pages.  And it isn't a book of short stories, just a set of what I'd describe as musings, and the publisher calls "vignettes".

The House on Mango Street 
These musing are a sort of stream-of consciousness from the mind of a child, (but this is not a children's book)  describing things she finds, feels or experiences on the way to puberty.  Living in the house on Mango Street, she wants more - but how to describe what you dream of when you are only a child?  From singing games to the disappointment of not having shoes that match a party dress; and to playing in an empty garden where there are a couple of abandoned cars, and nature is taking over;  these are things I recall too, and my childhood was spent on the other side of the Atlantic - and at a different time, too.   
 
These small glimpses into another world are like the best poetry,  they are not poems,  just little jewels made with a pen and paper.  I cannot believe that for my entire reading career I have never come across Cisneros before - but this is not the last of hers that will pop through my letter box.  If you are like me, and the name means nothing, perhaps you should seek her out too. I think you might enjoy her!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Tea at Four O'Clock - Janet McNeill

Product DetailsSometimes I read a book I don't choose, it's a book that just fell my way.  This is one of those, and very glad I am to have discovered it.  First published in 1956 (although it has an older "feel"), it was republished in 1988 by Virago.  It seems to be out of print now, but there are some secondhand copies available on Amazon, and I am sure a few more around the secondhand markets on the Internet or ask at your library. 

Set in Belfast in the years just after WW2, the story of three siblings, George, who has estranged himself from his two sisters; one who in the first chapter is already dead as we read about the day of her funeral, and the other sibling Laura - who nursed Mildred for some years until her death.  A short but heartbreaking tale of how a family can cause each other so much hurt in many ways, and how lies can affect the way others lives are led.

 Laura misses her brother George so badly it hurts, and on the day of Mildred's funeral he suddenly wants to be back in the bosom of his family.  As Laura is the only one left, we ask ourselves if he has an ulterior motive?  We also ask ourselves why Laura dedicated herself to the care of Mildred in her last six years;  surely not because twenty years previously Mildred was the head of the household whilst Laura suffered a complete mental and physical breakdown?   The mysteries of why and when unfold slowly, so take your time when reading this one - and finally, when all is revealed, you will understand how the lies we tell come back to haunt others.


Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

I had put off reading this since I acquired it..... too many pages, subject not for me and all that.  But this year I am attempting to read some books that have been hanging about for far too long, and this is one of them.  And what a surprise!

The book took me on a journey I really was not ready for, and one I had difficulty in dealing with.  As an atheist, the journey of a Baptist minister and his family was not something that appealed.  But how wrong I was to have left it on the shelf for so long.  in 1959, the minister, (without the full approval of the Baptist ministry) decides that he will minister in what was then the Belgian Congo.  He has a wife and four daughters, and so they must accompany him.  From the very first pages, when we find them readying themselves for a journey to God knows where for the purpose of baptising new Christians, we already know they are in for a difficult year ahead.  And when the small plane drops them in the middle of nowhere, and they are surrounded by natives who knew of their arrival and have killed a goat in their honour it is all so strange they recede into a kind of silent shock.  The shock really never leaves them.  The small village they have arrived at, following in the footsteps of a former missionary who has rumoured to have "gone native", is as different as it would be for you or me to land on the moon.

Food?  not much and certainly not the right sort.  Running water? none.  Bath?  Not unless you walk to the river with containers, walk them back and heat them up..... and that is only the start.  The Betty Crocker cake mixes (four of them, brought for the celebration of each birthday of the daughters) set in the pack like concrete and everything, for them, appears to be a living hell.  And Father?  Nathan Price, a cruel man with mental health problems of his own, so quick to hurt physically as well as mentally his wife and all his girls, doles out punishment for all of them whilst preaching his gospel, trusting to the translator to pass the Word on correctly.

The book is told in parts, each with a biblical heading, and divided into chapters told in  the voices of the daughters, about their lives at the time, whilst at the beginning of each part the mother looks backwards to her time in Africa.

I was shocked how little I knew about the departure of the Belgians from the Congo.  Shocked at how much the US was involved in Patrice Lamumba's death.  Stunned at how the Western world still regards Africa.  Barbara Kingsolver is a wonderful author, and her research can't be beaten.   This is a book worth reading.  You can read it for the history.  You can read it for the breakup of a family.  You can read it to understand a bit more about political decisions and how they make a difference half a world away.  What it isn't is a cute story, a love story (although there is one in there), a book with a happy ending (although for some that will come).  There is horror and grief here in all kinds of ways, but it is so worth the read.




Thursday, 2 February 2017

Mr Golightly's Holiday - Salley Vickers

I have read several of Salley Vickers' novels, each one different, but all with a soul.  As I started to read this one I was reminded of a long dead author, Elizabeth Goudge, in that it was very descriptive, and in a not so modern style.  My problem for you, dear readers, is that I want you to read it, but I can't tell you much for fear of giving the game away!  But let's see what I can do.

Elderly Mr Golightly needs a holiday.  Not least because he once wrote a  best seller and wonders if he should re-write it and bring it up to date a bit as sales and readership have dropped off considerably.  And so he finds himself in a small Devon village on Dartmoor, not writing much at all, drinking coffee and the occasional beer at the pub, and taking long walks and getting to know the villagers.  All have their good and bad points, some more bad than good, but really, most are redeemable.  He remembers his son, long dead, and is pleased to make the aquaintance of Johnny, a young teen, who blossoms under Golightly's love and care, and becomes his research assistant, being a wiz on the internet.  His business he's left in the care of his excellent team of staff, who send the odd email in reply to his enquiries, but otherwise leave him alone to enjoy his holiday.

We view the entire village as Golightly does, we see the affairs, how sex changes people, how lonely people just need a friend, how some awful examples of human  being need taking down a peg or two, and how secrets will out in the end.  And that's all I am going to say about this thought-provoking book.  If you are a regular reader of mine, you will know that there is always a reason for me telling you about a book.  I realised something quite important about two thirds of the way through, but even if you miss that, you will have everything made clear by the end.  Don't go near the end until you get there!!  And then, do have a look at Vickers' reason for writing the book.  Interesting.




 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Mrs Mac suggests - what to read in February

How about a crime novel with no body, no blood, no murder?  I wonder how many of those there are around?  No - don't all shout at once!

 I am suggesting, for you in February

                             a crime novel more than 50 years old.  

There are loads of them available, and in the last few years there have been republications of books that have been out of print for a long while.... the style will be different - but what you may find, apart from the style of writing which is very different from today's style, is a glimpse  into a life quite different from that which we live today.  I have just read a book I mentioned in the first line of this post - no body, no blood, no murder and I recommend it to you.  It's:


The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

  

Friday, 27 January 2017

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..... by Jim Smith


Darth Vader was really a welder from Fife..... WHAT?
This little clip from a radio recording is by a Scottish comedian, Jim Smith.  No matter what he does for the rest of his life, I thank him for this little chunk of wonderfulness.

Of course, being married for a very long time to a Scot means I understand (most of) it... but even if you are unfamiliar with any Scottish accent (and there are lots!) do listen a few times, and you'll get the hang of it, honestly!  You'll hear him say "I ken a boy" - roughly translated that's I know a guy".


The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach


I am a UK blogger.  So here we don't have baseball....we have the old fashioned and much more gentle game called "rounders".  Here we don't award college scholarships just on the strength of a young sportsperson spotted who might do well for the college.  (I don't think, so, anyway).  And then, along comes a book a book about an American college and baseball.  Hey!  don't turn away.... I am not interested in baseball, either.    But the book, the book, oh! It was a wonderful example of what you might call "the human condition". How people's lives cross paths, and what effect they may have on each other.

Henry gets to have a place at a small mid-West college because he can play baseball well.

Schwartz was the guy who spotted him and who got him the place at college.  But Schwartz is in his last year at that college, wants to go to law school, and has so worn out  his body that at the very least he is going to need new knees very shortly.  Oh! and he has fallen in love with Pella.

Pella is President Affenlight's daughter, newly returned home to Dad after running out of a four year marriage to a manipulator who she had eloped with.

And of course the President of the college, Affenlight, must be seen to be above reproach in all ways, which is fine until he falls for a student.

The student?  Well - I won't give the game away except to say that a stray baseball which hurts the student sets of a chain of events that are seemingly unstoppable.

All of these lives will become entwined.  All of these people will have an effect on at least one of the others.  All of them have problems and right until the very end of the book I was not sure if all those problems would be resolved.  It highlights life in general and the problems that some people have (bad marriages;  addiction to drugs of any kind;  coping with homosexuality; feelings of low self esteem) in particular.    I liked it so much that I kept stopping after a couple of chapters to think about everyone, and to slow down the predictable feeling I knew I would feel when I got to the end which was a real "sorry that I finished it" kind of feeling.  That hasn't happened to me since I read The Book Thief.

PS - as a non-sporty type of person, I just skimmed the baseball stuff!  But if you are a tiny bit interested, Wikipedia will have some info on baseball rules.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms - J P Donleavy








"Ladies should only take a pee in clean rest rooms".  One of those singular sentences that people older than you trot out from time to time, and this one from her grandmother obviously stayed with Jocelyn Jones from childhood, for wherever she is in New York city, she knows the best and cleanest rest rooms (toilets if you are reading this in the UK). 

Jocelyn is divorced from her husband, who left because, as he said, he had found some "fresh flesh".  For that statement alone I would have removed him from my life!  She asks only for the house plus a sum of money, and not an annual income.  He is happy to do that, and  she's on her own.  With no further income, no job, no skills, and only the good manners inherited from her southern grandmother, she finds that the money runs out sooner than anticipated (especially as the money from the sale of the family house disappears when an investment expert turns out to have no experience whatsoever).  After downsizing several times and being reduced to public transport only, she finds herself asking a male former friend for $500 when he turns up at her home, drunk, and looking for sex.  Things are desperate, and when she fires her gun at him (she misses) and he falls down the stairs, that seems to be the end on all accounts.  But help is coming in the most peculiar of ways, provided, of course, that she pees in a clean rest room. 

Donleavy has his own style, and he's not too fond of punctuation (except commas and full stops) either.  So it took a couple of pages before I fell into the rhythm of his writing.  But at only 119 pages, it's worth taking the time to read.  It's a delight.


Friday, 13 January 2017

Curtain Call - Anthony Quinn

Welcome to the Golden Age of Crime..... (Agatha Christie and all that, Penguin crime with green covers, heroines with names like Fliss, Bunty; heroes who were well informed and had names like Jolyon, Rupert), and the villains - ah! the villains!

Written only recently (pub. 2015) this is a great take on the genre.  Anthony Quinn makes sure that we know the era he is writing about.  Oswald Moseley;  King (not quite) Edward and Mrs Simpson are in the news, Crystal Palace has not yet burnt down, and homosexuality is a crime.  And in London, a serial killer is on the loose, and two women can identify him.  Dangerously, he saw them.

The key characters in the book are well drawn.  A married artist and his actress lover;  an unwilling prostitute;  a gay theatre critic and his straight male secretary will all have parts to play in this drama.  Other characters, though smaller in the scheme of things are well done too - there is a snivelling mother in there that I would gladly have slapped myself!  So when the artist sketches the face of the man the actress saw, it starts a chain of events that touch on everyone's lives.  And at least one of them is going to die because of it.

Edge of seat kind of read - Recommended.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Dirt Music - Tim Winton

As usual, before I write about a book I have enjoyed, I look at Amazon.  I don't need to read the 4 and 5 stars, they liked it, so I move straight down to the 1 stars, for an idea of why the reviewer didn't like it.  "Didn't like the non-use of speech marks" is an OK comment which I understand entirely although it never worries me.  But "no plot"?  That's an odd one, as there certainly is one in this book!

Georgie is 40, an ex-nurse, living with a successful commercial fisherman and his two sons in a small, rich town on the West coast of Australia.  Why?  Well, somehow that's where she ended up.  It isn't a love match - it is certainly driving her to drink.  She spends hours at night drinking vodka and surfing the net.  One night she sees someone down on the beach, and steps out to investigate, finding a truck and a friendly dog, which, it turns out, belong to a poacher - Luther Fox.  They meet, sex rears its ugly head, and well..... life takes a turn in the road for both of them.  At the same time, Georgie's mother dies, and on a trip to Perth for the funeral, she finds that none of her 3 sisters is really happy.  should she look for real happiness? 

Then things get worse, much worse.  Little secrets are starting to come out of the woodwork, and what seemed like a tale of unhappy families all round, now turns into a mystery and a thriller.  When Fox disappears, Georgie takes the decision to stick with Jim and get on with her own life....but it may not work out that way.

I must say I like Tim Winton.  Cloudstreet was the first of his I read, and so far it's the one I loved the best.  But Dirt Music comes a very close second.  If I say it's a love story, don't get me wrong.  It is, but it's about all sorts of love.  Love of parents long gone, love of siblings, love of yourself and love of strangers.  And, I think, from Winton, a love of his own country, Australia.

  

Saturday, 7 January 2017

That wonderful detective Nero Wolfe

Rex Stout wrote 33 Nero Wolfe novels and 39 novellas between 1934 and  his death in 1975.  in the mid-2000s, someone was showing some episodes from a  US TV series over here in the UK, and I caught a few of them.  I really liked Timothy Hutton as Archie, Nero Wolfe's acerbic secretary, driver, and all round gofer matched against the man himself, Nero Wolfe, played by Maury Chaykin.

Over My Dead Body (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 7)Black Orchids (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 9)Nero Wolfe is a big man.  So big, in fact that his chair was specially made to fit his bulk, and most of this bulk seems to be because a) he has a private chef who uses a lot of cream and butter; b) Wolfe likes beer as well as good wine and drinks 3 bottles several times a day ( keeping account of his beer drinking by saving the bottle tops in  his desk drawer; and 3) exercise is an anathema to him.

He has two hobbies - growing orchids and solving crimes.  The crime solving brings in the cash, but I must say I think he might have a private income too, as a lot gets done for sometimes very little money and living in a rather nice brownstone in New York with staff and good food and wine and orchids must cost!

The Rubber Band/The Red Box 2-in-1 (Nero Wolfe)Wikipedia has two pages, one for Rex Stout the author, and one for Nero Wolfe; there is a website for Wolfe fans called The Wolfe Pack, and someone in Australia is making Nero Wolfe charm bracelets for sale on Etsy!

The League of Frightened Men (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 2)So how come I didn't know about Rex Stout and all those books?  The Red Box was one of those "found" books - second hand shop/house clearance warehouse/charity shop?  One of those anyway; and I have found, in my reading career, that any publication in the early Penguin Books crime series - always green covers - will be readable.  I'd never heard of Rex Stout, didn't know he was American and didn't connect him with the TV shows I had seen until I saw the words Nero, Wolfe and orchids.

The Silent Speaker (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 11)The first book (Fer-de-Lance) was set at around the time it was written (mid 1930s), and although the series moves on through the years, apparently Nero and Archie don't age.  That's OK by me.  I may never read every one, but what a lovely surprise to find - all those books, a great hero (or not, as he is scathing when cross, and hardly ever leaves the house) and some clever thinking.  I did see a remark somewhere out there on the Internet that Stout is a cross between Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie.  I don't have any comment on that as I have never read either of them (GASP!) but I looking forward to more Rex Stout. 





Thursday, 5 January 2017

Not Forgetting the Whale - John Ironmonger

Sometimes you read a book with a tear, sometimes with a smile and some you throw across the room. This is the book I told you I was going to read in January - and look, we are only  five days in and I've done it!!

 
I finished this with a smile, even though it is a tale of dystopia - a city analyst who runs away from his job when he realises that a computer programme he invented is definitely showing him what he thought it would, but with disastrous results. The disaster could be an end-of-the-world scenario, and when he finds himself being given the kiss of life on a beach in Cornwall it may already have happened. And if it hasn't, it is going to. He isn't dead, he doesn't know why, but there must be a purpose here somewhere. Perhaps his purpose is to save the villagers from starvation? infection? what?  There are some dark moments in this book, but it isn't a dark tale. It is a heartwarming one, of how, if we are lucky, friends and neighbours just may help out when something is obviously going badly wrong. A clever and rather lighthearted telling of what might be. And of course .. not forgetting the whale.                                                                                                                                                                                       PS. Do please read the author's postscripts when you have finished... there are a few eye-openers there.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Mrs Mac Suggests - what to read in JANUARY



It's cold, you might even have snow.  So from my shelves I pulled a book with a deckchair, a seagull, and one of those telescopes that you put money in for a view on the cover.  Sort of Summery in fact.  My suggestion for you is therefore:

 a book with a seaside kind of cover


The book I mention is actually Not Forgetting The Whale by John Ironmonger which may be a little dystopian too.

Have a good time reading through 2017!