Saturday, August 20

Tag: book review

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Twenty-Four and Tired
Culture & Literature, Literature

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Twenty-Four and Tired

There is something to be said about the authors who aren’t afraid to make their characters unlikeable. Often, we read fiction to fall in love with the characters, but this is not the case for Ottessa Moshfegh’s third novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Set in New York during 2000-2001, Moshfegh introduces her readers to a self-absorbed bitch - the novel’s unnamed narrator. Early on she describes herself as, ‘tall and thin and blonde and pretty and young.’ She is all of those things, as well as insanely privileged, living in an apartment on the Upper East Side paid for with the money she inherited from her parents. She dislikes most people, including her best friend Reva who she reminds not to call her if she was ‘under the influence,’. But there is a sadness to this protagonist’s story...
My Body by Emily Ratajkowski: The Cost of Celebrating Sexuality and the Female Body
Culture & Literature, Literature

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski: The Cost of Celebrating Sexuality and the Female Body

Sat under pink spotlights in Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre, listening to speakers play a predominantly female playlist, I wondered whether this interview as part of Emily Ratajkowski’s book tour could be any more honest than the book itself. The conversation, led by journalist Pandora Sykes, did not fail to surprise; it was both insightful and thought provoking, and allowed the audience to acknowledge issues of control, fame, and a woman’s power.  It is hard not to take one look at model and actress – although now more recently recognised as both mother and writer – Emily Ratajkowski and see her through the eyes of a camera lens. She confesses this herself in her new debut book of essays, My Body, a beautifully intimate narrative that investigates the reality of the female experie...
Convenience Store Woman Review: The Perils of Sexpectation
Culture & Literature, Literature

Convenience Store Woman Review: The Perils of Sexpectation

Asexuality – what is it? Simply put, someone who is asexual experiences little to no sexual attraction. In Sayaka Murata’s book, she captures the minds of her readers through the unapologetic and quirky character of Keiko, a convenience store worker in Japan. Keiko, thirty-six and unmarried, is asexual. Few novels approach asexuality from such a unique perspective, and they are rarely this successful in doing so. When Keiko got her first job at a local store at age eighteen, her family were happy to see her find a job; now, nearly two decades later, her family – as well as her friends and co-workers – all have something to say about the ‘dead-end job’ she has not moved on from. But for Keiko, change just isn't on the menu in any aspect of her life, including romantically. She has ne...
The Third Policeman Review: An Insoluble Pancake
Culture & Literature, Literature

The Third Policeman Review: An Insoluble Pancake

You know when a little kid tries to explain something scientific even though they have no clue what they’re talking about so they start spouting absolute bullshit? ‘The Third Policeman’ is that conversation on steroids. The novel, published posthumously by Flann O’Brien, is stocked full of complete and utter nonsense. That being said, it is one of the most fantastical novels I’ve ever read and I cannot recommend it enough.  ‘The Third Policeman’ is, by its own definition, “nearly an insoluble pancake, a conundrum of inscrutable potentialities, a snorter”. The storyline, which is semi-impossible to understand, follows O’Brien’s unnamed protagonist (but who for convenience names his own soul ‘Joe’) through a cyclic hell following his death. The novel is stocked full with eccentric c...
6 Cosy Books to Curl Up with this Winter
Culture & Literature, Literature

6 Cosy Books to Curl Up with this Winter

Sure, the Christmas break normally brings with it a whole host of terrifying deadlines, but as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, might we all be tempted escape the uni work and curl up with a steaming mug of tea (or, more realistically, a quadruple-espresso) and a damn good book? Here are six to get you started:  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent  Set against the stark backdrop of 19th century Iceland, Burial Rites is definitely a novel fit for winter. The book tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be sentenced to death in Iceland. Tried and condemned for murder, Agnes is held in the house of a local family to await her execution, but as the months drag on and Agnes grows closer to the family, the truth about what really happened starts to be re...
American War Review: Did Omar El Akkad Predict the Covid 19 Pandemic?
Culture & Literature, Literature

American War Review: Did Omar El Akkad Predict the Covid 19 Pandemic?

“This isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.” (American War, chapter 1) Omar Akkad’s 2017 American War is classified as a war science fiction novel. But is it science fiction? The international bestseller and winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize is made up of fragments from real life events. From the first American Civil War, the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, to the more recent Afghanistan conflict in which Akkad was a journalist himself, readers are bombarded with the suffering of others.  The metafiction – set between 2075 and 2095 – follows the story of 6-year-old Sarat Chestnut after her father is killed in a homicide bombing. Taken to camp Patience with her siblings and mother, Sarat’s childhood is lived in a state of limbo: not dead, not alive, purely surviving t...
Diary of an Ordinary Woman Reviewed
Culture & Literature, Literature

Diary of an Ordinary Woman Reviewed

Background reading for your course can equal enjoyment, writes Beth Carr. In the midst of a reading-heavy degree it can be a struggle to find time and energy to delve into books for leisure, but making an effort to do so can be captivating and refreshing. This is exactly how I felt reading Diary of an Ordinary Woman, a book retrieved from my bookshelf after years of sitting there, since my mum passed it on to me as something I might enjoy. She was certainly not wrong and this is a book I would thoroughly recommend to anyone. Charting one woman's life through the twentieth century, Margaret Forster's novel reproduces extracts from the diaries of Millicent King, dating from 1913 to 1990. At first it was an ideal choice to relate to my course on twentieth century women but my interest s...