Cold light of day

3 09 2008

Cold light by John Harvey

From the back cover:

A cabbie’s just been beaten up, there’s a drunk and disorderly in the interview room and a possible child abuser on the way in. Nothing unusual there, then, just a pretty normal Christmas holiday for DI Resnick and his team. Normal, that is, until Dana Matheison calls to report her flatmate, Nancy, missing.

Another fast-paced and compelling outing for Resnick. They do seem to get better each time.


Icelandic oddness

2 09 2008

The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness

The Atom Station

The Atom Station

The Amazon synopsis has it thus:

When the Americans make an offer to buy Icelandic land to build an atomic war base, a storm of protest is provoked throughout the country and it is here that Laxness finds the catalyst for his story. Told by a country girl from the north, the novel follows her experiences upon taking up employment as a maid in the house of her Member of Parliament. She finds herself in a world very different to that of her upbringing and, marvelling at the customs and behaviour of the people around her, she emerges as the one obstinate reality in a world of fantasy. Her observations and experiences expose the intellectual society of the south as rootless and shallow and in stark contrast to the ancient culture of the solid and less fanciful north. The colourful, yet at times dark, cast of characters whom she meets personify the southern fantasy world. In this black comedy, Laxness has painted a masterpiece of social commentary as relevant today as when it was first written in 1948.

It really is a very good book indeed but thoroughly odd at every turn. The solid north appears as bonkers as the fantasy south which makes it a bit hard to grasp as a relevant social commentary.

Small town affair

1 09 2008

The Alphonse Courrier Affair by Marta Morazzoni

Nice, charming small town story with real touch of melancholy and a few twists along the way. Unpromisingly set in Auvergne village a century ago it nevertheless offers a vivid and entertaining narrative involving a small cast headed by Courrier the ironmonger, his wife and mistress and his friend the vet.

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