Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Categories: Fantasy, Mystery, Literary Fiction

First Publication Date: September 15th 2020 

Synopsis: Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

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May TBR: Asian Readathon, Comfort Reads and TBR Goals

Hello readers!

May is here! We’re so close to Summer now – unfortunately the weather in my town did NOT get the memo and the temperature dropped 10 degrees plus we have rain for two weeks nonstop. Bleeerg. At least for reading this kind of weather is very nice, I guess? Anyway! For May I will be setting a few goals; in April I kind of went with my mood and also read a lot of books for the Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist but now that I have only 1 book from the shortlist to read until the winner is announced in July, I feel very comfortable shifting that one book to my June or even July goals and focusing on other goals for May.

First, I will be joining the Asian Readathon!

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April Wrap Up: DNF-ing like there’s no tomorrow, Women’s Prize reads and more

Hello readers!

April has an interesting month. We had snow, sun, torrential rain. I started again with antidepressant medication, which has been working REALLY well for me (I’ve been taking it for 4 weeks now).

Books that were on my April TBR:

  1. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (4 stars 7 – my review)
  2. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (4 stars – my review)
  3. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – DNF
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Reacting to the Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

Hello readers!

the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced! I was very excited for it (I mean, what else is going on in my life) and ended up guessing 3/6 books.

I am actually surprised that Burnt Sugar is not on the list, it seems to me like such a quintessential Women’s Prize pick. I am also quite sad not to see Detransition, Baby, because although it was not a perfect book and not my favorite read from the longlist, it was still brilliant in its own way and had so many important discussions that would have brought a breath of fresh air to the shortlist. Still, I am excited to see Piranesi there and relieved that, despite snubbing Detransition, Baby, at least The Golden Rule did not get shortlisted either.

I can also see the appeal of Unsettled Ground, although it did not work so well for me, I am sure it will work for a lot of readers, and it does make important points about poverty in the UK, so I am not too mad about it. I am however a bit baffled that No One Is Talking About This is on the list, as this book did not leave a very strong impression nor did I feel like it did something New (and to choose this one over Detransition, Baby is very confusing to me).

Very excited to see Transcendent Kingdom, Piranesi and The Vanishing Half there!

I am happy though that I’ve read 5 out of the 6 books and seeing How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House there gives me further encouragement to finally pick this book up! Despite it being described as rather bleak, it has been on my radar for a while and I nearly bought a copy when the longlist was announced. So now I have a great excuse to bump it up on my TBR and get a copy. I am quite confident I can read it until the winner is announced in July!

All in all, I think the list is not entirely brilliant but it’s not bad and I’m not mad about it. Very excited to see who wins the prize and to pick up the only book I haven’t read yet!

My other blog posts about this years’ prize:

Reaction Post: Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 Longlist (I Did Kind Of Jinx It)

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 Longlist Prediction (Or: Jinxing the Whole Thing)

Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Prediction

Review: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQIA+

First Publication Date: xx

Synopsis: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?

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Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Prediction

Hello readers,

the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced tomorrow and, as per usual, I plan on ruining it by attempting to predict it and then raging about the list when I get it wrong. Fun times! As a quick refresher, here are the books that were longlisted:

  • Because of You by Dawn French
  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
  • Consent by Annabel Lyon
  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  • Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
  • Luster by Raven Leilani
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  • Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Summer by Ali Smith
  • The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Of those, I’ve read Luster, Exciting Times, No One is Talking About This, The Vanishing Half and Unsettled Ground. Based on the books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve seen, my vast experience and my psychic abilities, I predict the shortlisted books will be:

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Review: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Categories: Literary Fiction

First Publication Date: January 28th 2021

Synopsis: What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Their rented cottage is simultaneously their armour against the world and their sanctuary. Inside its walls they make music, in its garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. At risk of losing everything, Jeanie and her brother must fight to survive in an increasingly dangerous world as their mother’s secrets unfold, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

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Alguns livros brasileiros que li recentemente

Olá leitores!

faz um tempinho desde meu último post em português, e achei que seria interessante compilar os últimos livros brasileiros que li recentemente e fazer comentários sobre cada um – este ano estou finalmente tirando mais tempo para ler literatura brasileira, e entre reler favoritos e descobrir novos autores e livros de estreia, estou me divertindo um bocado!

A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão por Martha Batalha

Eu acabei lendo este livro na tradução em inglês e via áudio, apesar de ter também um e-book em Português (que eu ainda quero ler!). A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão é um drama familiar muito interessante, abrangendo diversos narradores, desde a personagem principal Eurídice, passando por seus pais, sua irmã, vizinhos bisbilhoteiros e outros, colorindo a história e dando-lhe nuance, humor e vida. ADOREI este livro!

Auto da Compadecida por Ariano Suassuna

Eu amo este livro e decidi reler quando achei um áudio-livro disponível com vários narradores – eu adoro quando áudio-livros tem um elenco inteiro, e foi uma experiência incrível! Eu gosto muito de ler a minha cópia física e adorei também o filme, mas Auto da Compadecida foi escrito para ser atuado, e um formato de áudio chega o mais perto possível do teatro para mim, que moro no exterior.

As Sobras de Ontem por Marcelo Vicintin

Este é um livro de estreia que eu tenho visto em muitas listas de “melhores de 2020”, que conta a história de dois personagens: um herdeiro de uma fortuna enorme que cometeu um crime e foi condenado, vivendo já por anos em prisão domiciliar, e uma influencer que se vê envolvida em um relacionamento violento. O autor criou um livro visceral e com temas muito interessantes, revelando a corrupção e fazendo paralelos com o lava-jato. Achei a escrita um pouco indulgente demais, e o final me deixou com cara de ponto de interrogação. Eu normalmente não ligo se um livro tem final aberto, mas neste caso em particular me deixou desapontada.

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Review: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Categories: Contemporary Fiction

First Publication Date: August 31st 2020

Synopsis: As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.

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Review: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Categories: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

First Publication Date: June 2nd 2020

Synopsis: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

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