Tag: debut novel

Reading the 2021 Women’s Prize Longlist – Mini-Reviews

A few months ago I posted about the 2021 Women’s Prize longlist.  At the time I had only read two of the books, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (both excellent). Since then I’ve read four more of the books from the longlist: Piranesi, Luster, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps…

Review: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

You’ll have heard of this book because of the awards it won in 2020, including the Booker Prize.  This story of a young boy growing up with an alcoholic mother in 1980s Glasgow is worth the read.  It’s dark, but once I finished it, I missed the characters.  By the time you finish it, Shuggie…

Review: The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I loved this book, set in 18th century England, about a lonely merchant who comes upon a mermaid that changes his life.  Gowar’s debut novel is one of those rare books you can’t possibly categorize – is it historical fiction, fantasy, romance, or just literature?  I heard of this book when it was nominated and…

Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This is a book that’s gotten a ton of praise, and has been described as Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day.  As a murder mystery, it’s great fun, playing on the great murder mystery tropes: a group of wealthy, bored socialites in a dark and dusty mansion somewhere in the middle of nowhere (a little like…

Review: What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

I really enjoyed Lucy Tan’s debut novel about a family living in modern-day Shanghai.  Wei, Lina and their teenage daughter Karen are a wealthy family  living in a luxurious “serviced” apartment, that have recently moved from America to Shanghai. The story is told from their perspective, as well as that of their cleaner, Sunny.  Through Sunny’s…

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I recommend this short but moving first novel by Rachel Khong about a woman caring for her father with Alzheimer’s.  This is a prospect I find absolutely terrifying, whether for my parents and for myself.  It seems to me that almost any physical ailment would be less scary than gradually losing one’s mind, knowing that…

Tomorrow there will be Apricots by Jessica Soffer

I don’t remember what made me pick up this book.  For whatever reason, I requested a free copy on NetGalley and once I had one, I felt obligated to read it.  And I’m glad I did. If you don’t know this about me, I don’t do “heartwarming” any more than I do “chick lit”.  This…

Review of Monsoon Season by Katie O’Rourke

Monsoon Season is O’Rourke’s first novel, and at times it feels that way.  But she’s also done something pretty impressive in this portrayal of a young relationship with some serious problems.  It’s a simple story, but thankfully this book is anything but simple. Monsoon Season tells the story of Riley and Ben, a couple in…

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