Telling the story of a man who inexplicably and uncontrollably walks, The Unnamed by Joshua Farris, is one of the more original narratives I’ve read in a while. At it’s heart, it’s a love story about coping with illness in a family. The difference in this story is that the main character’s illness cannot be explained by a physical or a psychological ailment. He simply walks and cannot stop until his body becomes so exhausted he collapses into a deep sleep.
How his wife and daughter deal with this phenomenon, shows a great amount of patience, faith and love. And how the main character eventually deals with his illness shows more of the same, although it may not be as obvious that the route he takes is ultimately meant to help his family move on. It’s a sad story and it’s a meaningful one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, through the tears and the heartache it took to read it. The frustrations felt by the reader and the characters in the book are very realistic. The “what if’s” that we all feel from time to time are fully expressed in a way that’s compelling and heartbreaking. But perseverance, once again, prevails because of the love that exists between this family. I highly recommend checking this book out as well as Joshua Ferris’s other novel “Then we Came to the End.”
Insert jokes about “weighty tome” <here>. Shriver draws from the ever more pressing obesity crisis to create this beautifully written but ultimately slightly unedifying story of one man’s sudden huge weight gain and the effect it has on him and his family. The full review is on my blog here.
A surprisingly gorgeous little novel, that will undoubtedly have been compared to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I wouldn’t know, since I refuse to read anything by Eggers, but I highly recommend this story of a nineteen year old boy coping with raising his six year old brother after the senseless murder of their mother. Read the full review on my blog here.
A return to her roots after The Lacuna, this is an absolutely glorious book about butterflies, climate change, families, farming, science and more besides. It’s epic, it’s riveting, if it didn’t use the word “gotten” so much, it would be 5 stars. Full review is here.
A book full of the most hateful and thinly drawn characters you can possibly imagine, this earns its second star for one reason only: I managed to read it to the end without smashing my Kindle in. Read the full review here
Another highly anticipated read for me, and another crushing disappointment. An exciting premise smothered in endless tedium. The full review is here
A debut novel that lives up to its hype. A beautiful novel detailing the trials and tribulations of being 11 years old while the world is trying to end, if you haven’t read this book, then you absolutely must. Reasons why are detailed fully here.
An absolute delight and joy. Heart rending and gorgeous, impeccably written. Read the full review here
“For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy – a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts.” The Namesake is a poignant and honest observation of family, cultural differences, and self discovery and the ways our experiences and upbringing inform our adult lives.
I honestly don’t want to say too much because I really enjoyed this book and want to let others go into it blind, as I did, as I feel it improves the experience. I will say that for me this is one of those books that really makes you feel what the characters are feeling and succeeds at unifying the human experience by showing that despite cultural differences, we are really at the core the same. It is definitely a read that will stay with you long after you put it down.
Ultimately we are all people trying to make it through. Some have it better, some have it worse, but we are all just trying to make sense of the hands we were dealt. “They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”
A proper stinker. An indigestible bore, epically tedious. A firm candiate for my bottom ten of the year, if not my number one least favourite. Awful awful awful. The full review/rant is here