Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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Having read the four books in Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brody detective series I had high hopes for Life After Life. The Jackson Brody novels are all excellent, and the writing style is a mixture of mystery genre and contemporary fiction; these books are completely different from reading most mystery/thriller novels. Life After Life is a completely different type of novel, yet I found it equally compelling. Continue reading

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Having wanted to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro for several years, I have finally done so after picking up a copy from my local independent cinema – they have a book swap shelf in the bar. I have read one other Ishiguro novel (An Artist of the Floating World) several years ago and enjoyed it, and there was something about Never Let Me Go that really caught my eye. Whether this was the title or comments I had heard about it (notwithstanding the Booker Prize shortlisting), I’m not sure, but I had been on the lookout for a copy for a long time.

Never Let Me Go is set in a modern dystopian England, and although the timeframe is not clarified I had the impression that it starts out in the mid ‘90s. I’m not really sure exactly why I placed the novel in this particular decade; I suppose the novels general feel coupled with references to such items like a cassette Walkman placed my views as such. The novel is narrated by Kathy and centres on her experiences, with her two best friends, of growing up in a boarding school/care home environment, Hailsham School. Continue reading

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

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A Confederacy of Dunces is an American novel written by John Kennedy Toole; written in the late 1960’s but not published until 1980, Toole won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1981 posthumously for the novel, having committed suicide in 1969 at the age of 31. Toole suffered from depression, partly attributed to the original failure to have ‘Dunces’ published, which led to his untimely death. Knowing this prior to reading the book I found important, according to my limited research, parts of the novel are based loosely around Toole’s life. I also think that as I read the book I got a small insight of what Toole was like.

The book itself centres on the main character Ignatius J. Reilly – a gluttonous, lazy man who lives with his mother in New Orleans. Continue reading