Saturday, 11 April 2009

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This was a recommendation from the Facebook Reading Group - not something I think I would have otherwise picked up. It is a post apocalyptic novel, the world is reduced to ash and burned out cities, everything is melted, dead and gone. The main protagonists, the man and his son are trying to reach the coast of the destroyed US in the hope that there is some life there - this is the story of their journey, and the horror and devastation they meet along the way.

There is little evidence of humanity left in the few survivors they come across on their journey. You want to turn away from the page at some of the sights described, but the power of the writing is such that you don't, you keep on reading, hoping for resolution and some hope for the future. The relationship between the man and boy is touching, frustrating and ultimately profound. You share their fear and their hopes. The sparsity of the language and the episodic telling keep you turning the pages. A modern classic.

Catch up

A hectic month has meant I am way behind with my reading log - so here's a catch up...

Feather and Bone by Lazlo Stranglov (Matt Whyman in disguise) - scary story of a village cut off from everyone except the rather threatening Mister Petri. Why is he so odd, and what is happening in the deserted chicken sheds, and why is there only the food brought in by Mr Petri and his thuggish sons? An interesting and scary read for children.

Don't Cry for Me Aberystwyth by Malcolm Price - there were a couple of really laugh out loud moments in this amusing thriller, a pastiche noir novel, but it was generally just an OK read.

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd - a tale of a runaway who takes on the persona of Solace to try to journey to Ireland and find her birth mother. Written with heart wrenching honesty and a real insight into the lives of children in care. Read it with compassion.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve - the prequel to the Mortal Engines books. The tale of Fever Crumb, a foundling in the times before all the cities became traction cities, when stalkers were little known in London. Fever knows she is different, but it is not until events unfold that she realises just how different she actually is. A wonderful adventure, full of heroics and sorrow, violence and caring. Watch out for this when it is published in May.

Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn - set just as war breaks out in 1939, exploring the life of a scizophrenic boy and his role as a guinea pig for the newly discovered electro convulsive therapy. Beautiful, gripping, sad and totaly involving. Hearn's best novel to date.

Warriors of Ethandun by N M Browne - the third novel in the Warriors Trilogy, but can be read as a stand alone title. Dan and Ursula find themselves in AD 878 - King Alfred's time, when there is distrust and magic in the air. Will they survive the horrors and trials of life in Wessex? Well written and involving.