Whichbook Blog

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This is like life lived through quantum theory. There are choices. There are possibilities. There is one character, but with four possible lives. These are reduced by chance and circumstance until there is only one man standing. You will have to make an effort to keep up, to remember which Ferguson is which and what happened to him when. But it is definitely worth the effort. You will enjoy this book, and the writing is astonishingly beautiful.

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History of Wolves

Fitting in is hard enough for any teenager. But, if you live on an old commune in sleepy Minnesota, you'll go to any length, whatever the cost. I was torn between sympathy for Linda and horror at the result of her choice. Shock, revulsion, sadness: you are in for a tough ride and the beauty of the lake setting only adds to the disquiet you will feel.

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Cove

A story of a man adrift at sea and his battle for survival against the elements is reminiscent of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, but this slim novella reads more like a prose poem with its lyrical imagery, economy of style and stanza-like layout. The shifts of tense and fragmentary thinking-aloud narration evoke the man’s disorientated state of mind, immersing the reader in a stirringly profound experience.

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The Crime Writer

This book gripped me from the first page to the last. Set in 1964, Patricia Highsmith, the crime writer of the title and already famous, is attempting to live inconspicuously in a Norfolk village in order to cope with her inner demons. If you are a fan of Highsmith, or interested in the craft of the biographer, you may enjoy the book even more than I did - but I can't believe that's possible. I can't recommend it too highly.

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Distant Light

A strange and unsettling story - with the feel of a fable. Are the abandoned village and the surrounding hills and gorges real or is this some landscape of the mind, the subconscious? Who is the narrator - and what is his relationship to the solitary child in the house across the valley? Lots of questions. This magical tale invites you to meditate on them - and, in turn, think about the meaning of life - and your own existence in the world.

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